38 Comments

"Executives will get worried about being sued."

Executives need to be worried about doing prison before this will stop. So do politicians. The laizzez faire attitude "Everybody does it..." needs to be replaced by "Everybody does time..." who gets caught.

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Amazon Web Services is the biggest termite of them all. It's the fixed cost of almost everything that runs on the internet.

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Unclear. While cloud providers like AWS or it's competition are popular, they are by no means necessary to run something on the internet. I've been running websites for years over my home internet connection. With today's fiber internet service, you'll be able to run most website from home. If not, you can always opt to rent data center space and do things the traditional non-cloud way without any of the cloud lock-in gimmicks.

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If you're building a site that requires the ability to really scale, you have quite a few choices these days. AWS is at the top of the market but there are many cloud services providers out there. Switching is not easy and the three biggest firms, Amazon, Microsoft and Google control 66% of the market as of 2023. Does that constitute an oligopoly? Maybe Matt can tell us.

The real problem is cost as they charge by cpu cycles and are not cheap. For most startups their largest non-labor cost is their monthly cloud svc fees.

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Also changing cloud providers usually requires rewriting _a lot_ of code, which is an enormous expense.

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founding
Jun 9Liked by Matt Stoller

This is one of the things that adds to the cost of higher education. If you are a really large university and need software to run student services (enrollment, course scheduling, etc.), Peoplesoft is your only choice. If you want to run a library system for a statewide university system, ExLibris is your only option. One bright note open source software like Folio, Palace and CollectionSpace are providing alternatives as is the non-profit service provider Lyrasis.

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Another fantastic article. Great insights!

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I second this!

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Unfortunately, the number of likes for this article wasn't a very big number. Not compared to the kinds of numbers I saw over at xtwitter for Elon Musk's bit of public relations swill. My takeaway: Big Matt Stoller doesn't have anywhere near as many readers as he should. This is information everyone should be familiar with. If everyone was, the monopolists would be easily overcome. Democracy can be a great and wonderful thing. But only if the voters are doing a good job. And actually participating in elections. Here in America neither is true. Voter participation is low and when they do vote it's usually about the "feelings" surrounding a campaign, rather than thoughtful reasoning about the issues. And the voters have proven over and over that they have short memories and like to think their representative politician, whatever the office, isn't corrupt like those " other" guys. Which of course they are corrupt. We are poorly governed and it's our own fault, in the aggregate. YOU might be a good responsible voter, but as a GROUP, not so much. If Trump wins the presidency, we as a group will deserve everything we get. But the consequences won't be confined to only his voters, but will be consequences for everyone, like Trump or not. I wish I could think-up a solution to these problems. Because I see a plurality of voters are about to make the biggest mistake voters have ever made. And they're going to take us all with them. Trump is a symptom of much deeper rot. As Stoller is illustrating on the subject of monopolies. WE NEED A CHAMPION who will turn things around. WE ARE SO FUCKED, and not in a good way.

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Hi Keith, I think it can be fixed, BUT, whats that got to stop is the divide. and knowing how it got started. NEWS, is also an issue. News outlets has become just outlets to one or the other party. VS, as we used to have two guess speakers of the issues. BUT, what happen, you have one side just pick a fight, vs, having an adult conversation. I believe we are stronger by different thoughts or ideas. As leaders or CEO or a head of any type company, You need to take it all in, but you have to make a choice as to best route. Gov. or as a "Republic" being a small group doesn't mean you rule. On the other hand as understanding as a "Republic" doesnt mean you should be disenfranchised. Take the Amish, as a simple.

We need a new agency to simplify the issues. Can a Candidate or A Rep for gov., be as baseball player stats. plus the parties need to be define or redefined. As we set now, people are going to voting for the very thing that going to kill or hurt them down the line. Dont see it or believe it.

How many people out there- VOTER, even those running for Office, can "Correctly name OUR 3 Check and Balance System. That what got broken and still broke today from the 2020 election. I blame congress on not calling that out, and "IF" you as the elected cant do that, how are we going to trust you like an issue as to going to War or not. Congress is the only as to one of 3 branches whom can declare WAR. not the Pres. but, if we are not understanding this, We may see a change to the worsts, of all issues.

My Name is NoBody, (1vs160)

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My name is nobody was a good spaghetti western too. Plus ihi Steve to you too. I like to free-associate sometimes with non- sequiters. I get your feeling, but I'm not sure how it can be solved other than a more responsible readership.

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BIG garners attention from other news outlets as well, often with larger audiences. Can't compare likes on substack to like on Twitter, two totally different platforms with different viewers. BIG can help the anti monopoly movement gain momentum, but it can't do it alone.

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So... how do we get a major media company to throw their muscle behind the anti-monopoly movement???

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This comment, in my opinion, answers your own question as to why Stoller doesn't have more readers...

The readers of BIG are here because of their recognition and frustration in monopolistic behavior. But some insist on pushing their politica views on everything. It's not what people want.

Even in this article is a great example. (Trump removed the price cap in '18) was a side note in this article. Was it really Trump that removed it? Was it the Trump "administration"? or was it just Congress while Trump was in office. The impending election has clearly made Matt show his political leanings to a very dramatic degree lately.

The lack of partisan politics in BIG is why I became a fan in the first place. Now I question if there's an angle in what I read....

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You bring up interesting points... worth answering. So...

There's a difference between partisan leanings and partisan propaganda. I don't mind leanings, as long as they are made clear to the reader and don't impede the flow of factual information.

I have some definite partisan leanings. And I let my readers know what they are. And I have to admit, there have been many times when I've opened a newspaper paper and gone straight to the editorials.

As to whether a Trump Administration or Trump himself that did something, it's got his name on it so , it's his. If it aligns with a Congressional initiative, like you I'd like to see that noted. It does make a difference.

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Appreciate the well thought out reply. I do agree with your deliniation between leaning and propoganda and I wish I would have articulated that well in my original comment.

That being said, my concerns are more towards the propoganda side than the leaning side. As you and I both said, we all know his leanings and we're here anyways. I don't mind that.

I also don't have a problem calling out Trump or any politition when it's deserved. Trump has deserved it plenty of times, but I want to focus the conversation onto my original point. The disparity of when credit or blame is given has gotten rather wide lately.

I wondered to myself if my own bias was clouding my opinion and if I was just seeing something that wasn't there. That was until all of the private comments I recieved after my comment stating how much they agree with me and how frustrated they are in the partisan (possibly propoganda) lately. They echoed my concerns which was they love the antitrust push and what Matt is doing but the leaning or propoganda, whihch ever is the correct term here, has left them wondering if they have to take Matt's work with a grain of salt or dig further to see if it's slanted. That hadn't been the case originally.

The peak of it was a couple of articles ago when in his opening paragraph, compltely off topic and at the very end in parenthesis, he urged the reader to go down to the negative section and see the comment on Trump. Which linked to an article with negative data with no sources, in fact, it referenced it's "anonymous" sources. To me, there's no spinning that and there's no place for it here, along side the excellent work he is doing on the antritrust front.

Either way, appreciate the discourse.

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Jun 9Liked by Matt Stoller

Autodesk is fucking awful. Most of the software updates have been to make their subscription verification system tighter and more unwieldy. They don’t provide any license management tools, so it’s impossible for a large firm to manage their dozens of licenses. They have to rely on threatening letters from Autodesk to know if a username is being used on more than one computer.

The price of Autocad has gone from around $1500 to $2600 per year while they have removed many conversion tools that allow users to import other CAD formats. The 3D performance is really bad for 2024. Just a fat lazy company protecting their moat.

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founding
Jun 8Liked by Matt Stoller

Thank you for the article! I think you abbreviated ICANN wrong.

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author

Thnx, fixed

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Jun 9Liked by Matt Stoller

As a former owner of an architectural firm, you are absolutely right about that AutoCAD software..... it sucked.

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I’m somewhat surprised that there is no mention of Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator and other graphic and publishing software linked together in a “Creative Suite”) - no longer sold but licensed (“rented”) to the user for a tidy annual fee. Offerings from Apple, Microsoft and Google seem geared to the home or amateur users. I may be mistaken, but the ubiquitous “.pdf” file is an Adobe creation and likely licensed by other software providers. A good ‘termite’ candidate imho.

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Jun 8Liked by Matt Stoller

Great article, as always. And love the Super Hans reference!

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Statistics can be dry. When accompanied by dry text, they can become mind-numbing. But when you turn the stats into something people can relate to, the number message becomes clearer. "Economic termites" has staying power, just like Taibbi's characterization of Goldman Sachs as a "vampire squid." Or even the term "zombie company" which appears to have originated by two economists presenting a paper about Japanese debt: https://mises.org/mises-wire/zombie-company-apocalypse-here

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From “The Hill” 3/28/24. Corporate profits hit record high as economy boomed in fourth quarter of 2023

From Trading Economics, Mar 28, 2024 — Corporate Profits in the United States increased to 2803.20 USD Billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 from 2697.93 USD Billion in the third quarter of 2023

It’s not rocket science, just math…..

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It`s not rocket science, just math .. your right, PBJ. how many know or understand Profit "Margin" vs percentive profit. Word Margin is percentive of the SALE Price. Take simple one dollar cost for a product mark up that product up at 50% Margin. So what is the sale price set at? If you say $1.50 sale price your wrong. it`s $2.00 sale price a one dollar cost or100% return. Profit Margin is based on how much the sale price is in percentages "IS a profit or Corp. profit "Margin" see cost is dollar and sale is two dollars, that the math on 50% Profit margin, half or 50% of sale price is the profit of the sale or endgame on profit "Margins" for Corp.

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It's very kind of you to call them 'termites' rather than the more accurate 'parasites'.

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Brilliant eyes opener article! Tks

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founding

An excellent article, thanks!

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So much of neoliberalism is based on ignoring power. This makes it useful to those in power, but empirically suspect in all but the narrowest of cases.

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DailyAdventureBox should sue the hell out ASSA Abloy and Fortune Brands.

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I am in the process of that right now! It was really hard finding a firm that would take the case on contingency. But I finally found one on an hybrid contingency! So, I am bringing the fight to them! Hopefully I can win.

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