Amazon vs. Hachette: Soul searching in techie, bookish Seattle

23 August 2014

From The Seattle Times:

In this city famous for its independent bookstores and pungent coffee shops — brick-and-mortar institutions that value touch, taste and long, rainy afternoons — a high-profile conflict about the business of selling e-books has left many readers feeling conflicted.

Their dilemma: balancing an addiction to the convenient and wallet-friendly services of the local Internet giant with their devotion to the local literary culture.

“I’ve spent more on Amazon just to support them just because everyone was boycotting them,” said Peg Manning, an Orcas Island resident and self-described Amazon junkie who also loves wandering into her local bookstore with her granddaughter.

. . . .

Because of its status as the largest distributor of books, Amazon’s tactics in the Hachette dispute have grabbed headlines and polarized consumers and authors. One national survey indicates some consumers are voting with their wallets — against Amazon — and an informal poll in Seattle shows the issue playing out at cash registers here, too.

. . . .

Small contradictions — the Amazon lover who also supports the local bookstore, and the Amazon skeptic who still buys e-books for his Kindle — point to internal conflicts for readers who are becoming more and more aware of their purchasing power.

It’s a classic case of convenience versus conscience.

At a recent gathering of Seattle’s Meetup Book Club, for readers in their twenties and thirties, 11 members were split between those who prioritize convenience and those who view Amazon’s business practices as monopolistic and strong-arm.

But even during a civil discussion among the reasonable book-clubbers, it became clear this is a touchy subject in the land of Amazon.

One member, his Kindle resting on the table in front of him, said he was an ex-Amazon employee. He didn’t say much else. Down the table, a woman called Amazon a book bully, citing concerns about the company’s growing power. She emailed later asking that her name not be used because she works in tech and doesn’t want to limit future job opportunities.

. . . .

Local writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt, a Hachette author who says her book sales have been affected, claims Amazon’s tactics stifle “ideas and art and a marketplace” because “they are not working in the interest of authors.”

“Amazon’s reach is just so much farther than it should be …,” she said. “It can be really harmful and restricting to authors’ projects.”

Still, Haupt has $150 in Amazon gift cards from friends, and she plans to use them.

Bainbridge Island novelist Jonathan Evison, who spends at least $100 at independent bookstores each month, takes more of a hard-line approach to Amazon, which he believes is seeking world domination (though he has friends who work at the company, and “they’re good people”).

. . . .

“I am like 99.99 percent of the consumers out there,” said local author Robert Dugoni, who was previously published by Hachette but is currently under contract with Thomas & Mercer, one of Amazon’s publishing imprints. “I will always look for a product at the best price and the most convenient way of buying it. It’s hard to pass up the opportunity to sit at your computer, buy a product, and have it delivered to your home two days later.”

Link to the rest at The Seattle Times

 

The Guardian view on Amazon v Hachette: reading and writing

19 August 2014

From The Guardian:

It is either an existential threat to intellectual freedom or a rustbelt media industry meeting its comeuppance at the hands of disruptive technology. The battle between the multibillion-dollar publisher Hachette (and now the Scandinavian publisher Bonnier) and the even more multibillion-dollar Amazon is usually discussed in high-minded tones, particularly by publishers and their authors. But at heart, it is merely another collision between producers and consumers that has a particular significance only if you ascribe a value to books as cultural artefacts. It is perfectly possible, instead of Hachette and Amazon, and the 900 writers who took out a two-page ad in the New York Times to protest, to substitute supermarkets, dairy farmers and the price of milk.

. . . .

There are many ways of arguing the rival cases, but the important question is whether a one-size-fits-all, low-price, consumer-dominated sales model can support a diverse, innovative, challenging literary output. Publishers, and their authors, feel that without the front-loaded system of royalties and editorial and marketing support that publishers provide, many important books would never reach an audience. Amazon and its supporters argue that the digital world slashes the back-office costs of publishing, opens up a world of self-publishing, demolishes the gatekeepers of taste, and democratises the literary world.

Neither side is entirely right, nor entirely wrong. Publishing is not perfect. It has a heavily concentrated ownership and a tendency to publish only what has already proved successful (and plenty of booksellers demand a payment for a place on the table by the door too). But Amazon’s business model, which ranks books neither higher nor lower than ladies’ shavers and pet supplies, claims low prices invariably benefit consumers.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Patricia for the tip.

PG suggests that books are too important to entrust to huge corporate publishers. Only authors care enough about books not to sell out their art to the almighty dollar (or pound, euro, etc.).

Ultimately with publishers it’s all about the Benjamins.

The war over e-book sales resonates widely as Amazon, Hachette battle

17 August 2014

From The Globe and Mail:

The obdurate war between the giant international corporations Amazon and Hachette – a battle raging far over our heads like the rumble of gods clashing on Valhalla – will affect the future of publishing around the world. But it is also revealing a number of fervently held and basically emotional beliefs on the part of writers. Writers are coming across as a rather conservative bunch.

. . . .

As the media have been reporting for the past several weeks, the online retailer Amazon.com Inc. and the mega-publisher Hachette Book Group (owner of a couple of U.S. imprints, including Hyperion) are in a dispute over the pricing of e-books. Amazon wants to sell them for around $10, and the publisher, like most other publishers, wants full control over the price, and wants that price to be higher (it doesn’t say exactly how much higher, but e-books sell for as much as $16 right now).

. . . .

So far, most U.S. authors have lined up against Amazon, a corporation that has done almost as much for the dissemination of literature as the printing press itself, yet is pretty much universally despised in artistic circles. Amazon’s transgressions against the artistic spirit are many.

For one, it is almost as powerful as a monopoly. It tries to tell publishers what to do in various ways, and most publishers feel they have no choice but to comply. It has put bookstores out of business, and writers love bookstores.

. . . .

And so they are expressing outrage at Amazon’s treatment of Hachette and its innocent authors. In doing so, they confirm the widely held publishers’ view that e-books should be kept at high prices so as to better reward authors for their labour and brilliance.

. . . .

I understand this, but I think authors should reconsider their pleas for expensive books. The idea that literature should be expensive is an odd one for a group that is generally leftist. Books should not be luxury items; books should be everywhere. People shouldn’t have to think hard about clicking that “buy” button.

Odd, too, is the idea that cheaper books will lose money for the creators. Surely, even writers understand the basic business tenet that lower prices lead to greater sales.

. . . .

In bookselling in particular, high volume is your friend: A large readership is the best possible advertisement a book can have, and it will snowball. People sometimes buy books simply because they are bestsellers.

Okay, the writers say, but what about respect for the book – you know, the notion that even though this digital file may cost exactly nothing to send from one storage device to another, it cost the author five years to write and a lifetime to imagine? Do we really want to start to consider books as mere digital files, as inexpensive, easily consumable and disposable, like pop songs?

Well, you may be surprised to hear that as a (doggedly slow) writer of books, I honestly wouldn’t mind if my books were considered cheap-and-easy pleasures, even disposable. It might make more people buy them.

Link to the rest at The Globe and Mail and thanks to Patricia for the tip.

Weekend Brunch: Amazon v. Hachette, Axe, and Candy Crush

17 August 2014

From Marketplace:

 

 
Thanks to Nikki for the tip.

Hugh Howey on Hachette/Amazon

14 August 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

With the Amazon-Hachette dispute showing no signs of resolution, PW spoke to Wool author Hugh Howey, who has been an outspoken advocate for Amazon, about the ongoing stalemate, e-book pricing and where he thinks this situation is headed.

Amazon has said, repeatedly, that what is at stake in its sales terms dispute with Hachette is e-book prices. Amazon has also said that it is lobbying to keep e-book prices low. Hachette described the situation as a battle to preserve a healthy bookselling environment, that includes physical retailers. Do you think this is really about e-book prices or a healthy bookselling ecosystem? Isn’t it ultimately about two companies that are each attempting to maintain a better operating margin?

I think it’s all of those things, simultaneously. Amazon believes it can sell more books and please more of its customers at a price range of $4.99 to $9.99. Hachette believes e-books cannibalize print sales to the detriment of its longstanding relationship with brick and mortar stores. Hachette has also expressed worry over how much of the book market Amazon controls, and any increased share of e-books strengthens that dominance.

It is also about better operating margin, as you suggest. Amazon is currently discounting e-books at the expense of their own margin, while paying Hachette the full amount based on list price. Hachette needs Amazon to do this discounting, otherwise their readers shop for other e-books. Douglas Preston, one of the authors vocally in support of Hachette’s control over e-book prices, has felt this wrath from his readers in the past, which is why one of his complaints today is that Amazon is refusing to discount his e-books enough! Which is a strange argument. It tacitly agrees with Amazon’s position, which is that Hachette’s e-book prices are much too high.

Of course, Hachette wants to maintain its current deal with Amazon, where it makes 70% of the list price, Amazon takes a hit by discounting down to sane levels and makes perhaps 5%, and Hachette enjoys record profit margins. Look at News Corp’s latest earnings report; under “Book Publishing,” you can see the increase in earnings due to e-books and a clear admission that this format enjoys much greater degree of profitability. As a reader and a writer, I would love to see those record profits more evenly distributed in the form of higher royalties to authors and lower prices for readers. Hachette disagrees. They want to keep it all. From what I understand, they aren’t even currently negotiating with Amazon to settle this dispute, as they can’t possibly get a better deal than the one they currently enjoy.

. . . .

Looking ahead, do you see this showdown between Amazon and Hachette—in which a standard aspect of doing business has erupted into a public fight representing a number of big-picture debates in the industry—leading to anything positive? Is it a landmark moment in the industry, or something that’s been blown out of proportion in the press and, ultimately, won’t affect much in the long run?

I don’t see anything positive coming out of this. Authors’ careers have already been irrevocably harmed. I know what they are going through; I went through this exact same thing when Barnes & Noble refused to carry my novel as part of a boycott of Simon & Schuster titles. Hachette won’t remember why books didn’t perform during this time; the bean counters will look at sales, and authors will be dropped. They’ll carry a black mark for the rest of their careers. It tears me up that this is taking place. For these authors, there is no way to blow this out of proportion. They worked for years to get published, and now they find themselves like children harmed by a nasty marital dispute.

The real danger here is that the other four major publishers see this as a cause and join the fight. There is precedent for thinking they might. They have broken the law in the very recent past in order to collude and force terms on Amazon (and to force higher prices on readers). Publishers have a long and uneasy history with their largest retail partners. Barnes & Noble was the enemy before Amazon came along. Deeply discounted hardbacks were the evil-of-the-day when I was a B&N employee. Publishers seem loathe to give up control of their wares, but it’s the mistake they made by forgetting who their real customers are. The culture inside publishing houses is one of catering to retailers and media outlets; hardly anyone talks about the reader, and that’s a problem.

The result has been increased market share for self-published authors, who communicate directly with their readers, who price their e-books below what a mass market paperback used to cost, and who don’t rely on DRM or fight piracy they way publishers do. I dearly want publishers to survive. I have titles with them. I read their books every day. I spent years selling their titles at bookstores and working with their sales reps. My blog is a tireless attempt to help them navigate the changing publishing landscape, because I want them to do well and to stick around. The end result of this dispute, if it continues, and if other publishers adopt similar stances when it comes to digital pricing, will be that publishers become irrelevant to the majority of readers. No one should want that.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Ashe for the tip.

Amazon’s Battle With Hachette Reflects The Growing Pressure For The Retailer To Show Profits

13 August 2014

From Business Insider:

The battle between Amazon, the online retailing giant, and Hachette, the international publishing group, has the makings of a plot for a legal thriller by John Grisham. A plucky young upstart eventually finds success, only to fall to the dark side and turn its back on the values it initially pledged to hold dear. The only problem is that in this battle it is not clear which side takes the role of fallen angel.
Amazon wants you to believe that the villain is Hachette, which began life as a bookshop in France in 1826 but is now one of the biggest book publishers in the world and part of Lagardère, a £6 billion media empire. Amazon claims that Hachette is colluding on prices with rival publishers and preventing the public from getting cheaper books.

On the other side, Hachette, with the support of hundreds of authors including Grisham, James Patterson and Stephen King, claims it is Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, that deserves the opprobrium.

. . . .

The row has come to a head because Amazon and Hachette have failed to agree new terms under which the online retailer can sell the publisher’s books, which include classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and modern bestsellers such as The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, the pseudonym of JK Rowling.

. . . .

[A]t the heart of the row is the dramatic change that the internet has brought to the entertainment industries, and the key question of whether the growth of Amazon is a good thing.

In the UK, the company has been criticized for hastening the demise of local high streets, for poor working conditions in its warehouses, and for not paying its fair share of corporation tax.

. . . .

Publishers, film studios and record labels are cautious about the growth of Amazon. Not only does it want to sell products for a lower price than they do, but there are concerns that Amazon will not allow a film studio or record label to promote its product in the same way that a high street store will. This is why HMV has re-emerged on the high street in Britain, despite falling into administration last year. The film studios and record labels want HMV to survive. They are offering it exclusive products – such as special-edition CDs and DVDs and greater access to back catalogues – to take on Amazon. As a result, although HMV has half as many stores as when it fell into administration, sales in the shops that did survive are up 10 per cent, year on year.

However, Amazon’s share of the entertainment market is still growing. The latest data from the UK show that it accounts for 22 per cent of music, video and gaming sales and is the largest entertainment retailer in the country by some distance.

. . . .

Amazon wants you to interpret its attempt to drive down costs as being in the best interest of shoppers. It claims it has improved access to books, films and music around the world by lowering prices and introducing new technology such as the Kindle, which provides up-and-coming authors with an unprecedented platform to reach readers.

Philip Jones, the editor of the trade magazine The Bookseller, says there is some truth in this, but warns that Amazon has to communicate better with publishers. “It is a victim of its own success,” he says. “It is so big that whatever it does it has the potential to do great damage. It’s like a giant that squashes a house if it takes a misstep. It has an attitude, which I think is from the top, of a relentless drive to get rid of the competition. Whatever its motives, it’s going to have a difficult time convincing people it is right.”

Link to the rest at Business Insider

Authors should back Amazon in the battle with Hachette

13 August 2014

From The Financial Times:

A group of leading authors, including Donna Tartt, Stephen King and Malcolm Gladwell, has attempted to intervene in the dispute between publisher Hachette and retailing behemoth Amazon. Observers of the music industry are familiar with this tactic; prominent musicians are persuaded that the interests of music publishers are aligned with their own. The reality is very different.

Music and print media are among the industries most fundamentally changed by digitisation. When Amazon likens the change to the arrival of the paperback, it makes a grave underestimation; the invention of printing is a better analogy. Costs and barriers to entry in distribution have almost disappeared.

Established companies in all industries are inhibited in their response to radical change by vested interests inherent in their existing business models.

. . . .

The role of the book publisher has been based on control of access to channels of distribution. The ambition of the aspirant author has always been to “get published”. Along with the decision as to what should be published, the company has traditionally provided a collection of associated services: identification, support and finance of the underlying literary project, editing of the draft manuscript, and marketing and promotion of the finished work.

But the large conglomerates that have come to dominate publishing are run by people who love money more than they love books. These support activities have been cut back in the interest of maximising the revenue, from control of access to distribution.

Link to the rest at The Financial Times (paywall warning) and thanks to India for the tip.

Why Do Some Self-Published Authors Care How Hachette Prices Its Books?

12 August 2014

From Digital Book World:

One of the most confusing things to me about the Amazon-Hachette contract dispute saga is why do so many indie authors want so passionately for Hachette, a competitor, to lower its prices?

Isn’t it against their self-interest?

Don’t indie authors, who generally price their books lower than traditionally published books.

. . . .

 The idea behind the argument is that if I see a book by a big-publisher author I don’t know in a genre I like for $12.99 and see another book, perhaps self-published, by another author I don’t know in a genre I like for $4.99, I may decide to buy the $4.99 book instead because of the price difference.

. . . .

 I’ve reached out to some of these folks to see if they can tell me why they want one of their competitors to lower its prices. Apologies to them and to you, readers, if I’ve missed where they’ve already written it up. (So far, I haven’t heard back. If I do, I will let you know and update this post.*)

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

As PG and many others have pointed out approximately forever, if BigPub priced its ebooks at $49.99, indie authors selling ebooks at $2.99 would sell more ebooks. DBW has not made a profound discovery here.

However, to PG the DBW thesis feels like a back-handed suggestion that indie authors ought to shut up and let “real authors” and Hachette set the topic of the debate as “Amazon: Threat or Menace?”

Indie authors jump into the discussion because they recognize that Amazon is the innovator, the true friend of both readers and authors while Hachette and its co-conspirators are champions of the retrograde.

Indie authors jump into the discussion because they understand that Preston, Patterson and the rest of the 1% authors are not at all representative of the typical bigpub author and that bigpub establishes an iron code of silence among authors who don’t agree with the party line on pricing or anything else.

Indie authors jump in because they understand that the memes Hachette is trying to sell, “Authors love us and they hate Amazon” “Big Publishing is a friend to authors and Amazon is an enemy” are totally incorrect, cynical lies backed by the enablers of traditional publishing.

Indie authors understand that Amazon has made it possible for more authors to earn a living from writing today than at any other time in history. Indie authors know that increasing numbers of traditionally-published authors are finding a way out of their traditional publishing contracts so they can have the freedom to write and publish their books in their way and that Amazon is making this possible. Trashing Amazon is one way tradpub tries to keep its captive authors from fleeing the plantation.

Indie authors understand that Hachette and other publishers were relentlessly raising the cost of books, pricing them farther and farther out of the reach of middle-class readers, before Amazon came along and demonstrated that you can sell more books and make more money by offering books for a fair price.

Traditional Publishing, the self-styled guardian of literary culture, was in the process of driving the book business into the the ditch before Amazon came along. If literary culture is going to be saved, PG suggests Amazon is a more likely savior than the media conglomerates that control Old Publishing.

Indie authors have jumped into the discussion to call baloney on the corporatist claptrap of a selfish cartel that treats a tiny number of authors well and oppresses the rest.

In short, indie authors have discovered a better way to be a successful author and they want to spread the word. They support Amazon because they choose the smart side instead of the dumb side of the Hachette/Amazon dispute. They choose the future over the past. Indie authors are the future. Hachette is the past.

Hachette CEO: “More than 80% of the ebooks we publish are priced at $9.99 or lower”

11 August 2014

From GigaOm:

It’s been a weekend of manifestoes as Amazon, book publisher Hachette and authors try to draw others onto their respective sides — and encourage readers to email Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch. Now Pietsch is responding to those writing to him, and Hachette made that response public on Sunday night.

. . . .

In his letter (posted in full below), Pietsch writes that “we don’t usually comment publicly while negotiating, but I’ve received a lot of requests for Hachette’s response to the issues raised by Amazon, and wanted to reply with a few facts.” He goes on to say that Hachette sets its own ebook prices “far below corresponding print books,” that “more than 80% of the ebooks we publish are priced at $9.99 or lower” and that “those few priced higher” will decrease in price once the paperback edition of a book is published.

“This dispute started because Amazon is seeking a lot more profit and even more market share, at the expense of authors, bricks and mortar bookstores, and ourselves,” Pietsch argues.

. . . .

Pietsch’s Lettter:

Thank you for writing to me in response to Amazon’s email. I appreciate that you care enough about books to take the time to write. We usually don’t comment publicly while negotiating, but I’ve received a lot of requests for Hachette’s response to the issues raised by Amazon, and want to reply with a few facts.

• Hachette sets prices for our books entirely on our own, not in collusion with anyone.
• We set our ebook prices far below corresponding print book prices, reflecting savings in manufacturing and shipping.
• More than 80% of the ebooks we publish are priced at $9.99 or lower.
• Those few priced higher—most at $11.99 and $12.99—are less than half the price of their print versions.
• Those higher priced ebooks will have lower prices soon, when the paperback version is published.
• The invention of mass-market paperbacks was great for all because it was not intended to replace hardbacks but to create a new format available later, at a lower price.

As a publisher, we work to bring a variety of great books to readers, in a variety of formats and prices. We know by experience that there is not one appropriate price for all ebooks, and that all ebooks do not belong in the same $9.99 box. Unlike retailers, publishers invest heavily in individual books, often for years, before we see any revenue. We invest in advances against royalties, editing, design, production, marketing, warehousing, shipping, piracy protection, and more. We recoup these costs from sales of all the versions of the book that we publish—hardcover, paperback, large print, audio, and ebook. While ebooks do not have the $2-$3 costs of manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping that print books have, their selling price carries a share of all our investments in the book.

This dispute started because Amazon is seeking a lot more profit and even more market share, at the expense of authors, bricks and mortar bookstores, and ourselves. Both Hachette and Amazon are big businesses and neither should claim a monopoly on enlightenment, but we do believe in a book industry where talent is respected and choice continues to be offered to the reading public.

Once again, we call on Amazon to withdraw the sanctions against Hachette’s authors that they have unilaterally imposed, and restore their books to normal levels of availability. We are negotiating in good faith. These punitive actions are not necessary, nor what we would expect from a trusted business partner.
Thank you again and best wishes,
Michael Pietsch

Link to the rest at GigaOm and thanks to Nirmala for the tip.

Making Sense of Amazon-Hachette

11 August 2014

From Medium.com:

The only thing that has exceeded the volume of the comments surrounding the ongoing Hachette-Amazon book retailing negotiation is the irrationality you see in those comments. On the one side you have authors that see Amazon as wanting to chew up Hachette on their path to a monopoly, while on the other side you have Amazon outlining that the publisher desire for higher prices will kill the ebook business. Of course neither is true. What we have is a simple battle over profit margin.

. . . .

A key point that is almost universally missed outside of the tech world is that Amazon’s position in the ebook business is fragile. There is no greater chasm between author and Silicon Valley understanding than this. A very large percentage of authors feel that Amazon is in a commanding position in the ebook industry and that one of their goals is to create a monopoly position. While Amazon is in a commanding position, to think that monopoly is their goal illustrates a lack of understanding of Amazon’s relatively weak position.

Again, those in the tech industry understand the fragility of Amazon’s position: First of all, the barrier to entry for creating an ebook online store is absurdly low. In fact, Microsoft, Apple, and Google already have ebook online stores. Think about that for a minute: Three of the most formidable digital companies in the world are operating in the ebook space.

Another argument you hear is that Amazon also controls the device business. But this completely ignores the fact that Apple’s and Google’s devices are even more popular than Amazon’s. Microsoft certainly isn’t ceding this space either, as the recent purchase of Nokia indicates.

For Amazon to make any progress at all they would have to either make the ebook space not worth pursuing for those companies or to flat out beat them. But the reality is so much harsher than making progress. The assets that Apple, Google, and Microsoft bring to the table mean that Amazon’s market share is inherently tenuous. The result is that Amazon isn’t thinking offense, it is thinking defense, and this is the thinking behind their “not worth pursuing strategy.”

. . . .

So how is Amazon making the ebook business not worth pursuing? They are doing it by discounting so aggressively that the value of the book business for ebook retailers is so miniscule that it doesn’t even raise the eyebrows of the major tech companies. While the book business is big, why even bother with it if the profit margins are so small as to not even move the needle? Your time is better spent focusing on video games with in-app purchases, among many other things.

Apple’s collusion in fixing higher prices with the major publishers makes total sense in this light. The book business with Amazon cutting margins to the bone makes no sense for Apple. The book business with the major publishers setting prices and Apple getting a full 30% margin on those sales? That’s the kind of margin that gets Apple’s attention.

Unfortunately for Apple, they had to break the law to combat Amazon’s discounting. This should tell you two things: One is that the scope of Amazon’s discounting is obviously immense. If Amazon was just discounting on a small scale, Apple, Google, and Microsoft would be a lot more interested. The second is just how much Amazon subsidizes the publishing business and author earnings thanks to their discounting. Remember: They are still paying publishers and authors based on list price. When the customer pays the discounted price, Amazon eats the difference.

So we can see that Amazon has created a very low margin business, and we can also see that Apple at least has shown that if the margins are higher then they would put more attention to this line of business.

. . . .

One of the key side-effects of Amazon’s strategy of turning books into a low margin retailing business is that publishers and authors have been reaping enormous benefits. With Amazon aggressively discounting, publishers were watching their books sell in greater volume at a higher price point. Authors similarly reaped the benefit by seeing the lower price point lead to higher volume for sales without hurting their royalties.

. . . .

As I mentioned, the trouble for Amazon is that if they just stop discounting or cut back their discounting to select titles then the book retailing business is suddenly interesting to some pretty big players. Authors tend to think of Amazon’s strategy as driving Barnes & Noble out-of-business, but if they stop discounting they are much more worried about the aforementioned Apple, Google, and Microsoft .

Link to the rest at Medium.com and thanks to Cynthia for the tip.

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