Headline English

The power of tech giants

15. 9. 2014

About a decade ago, people were very scornful of Microsoft and deliberately opted for products from other companies or for non-proprietary (1) software. The reason they did not like Microsoft was its pervasive (2) and abusive technology monopoly.

For most computer users, it was not very easy to do without Microsoft’s technology, though. The alternatives were much more difficult to use than Microsoft’s products so that they were only used by computer geeks.

Then antitrust authorities managed to limit the monopoly rights of Microsoft to some extent. In the meantime, Microsoft’s position was also weakened by the emergence of other centralized giants, such as Facebook or, most importantly, Google and Apple.

But some of these new companies are spying on us (3) as well. They’re capturing all kinds of data and selling it. Some are also making the internet fragmented by using paywalls.

Google wants to know pretty much everything about you, on multiples devices, all day long. „When we connect all these things,“ officials at the search giant claim, „we can truly start assisting people in a more meaningful way.“

Just as with Microsoft, it is very difficult to do without the technological gadgets (4) these new giants provide. But we now know that what we need to do to counter this new power is to support the opposition. That is, the competitors.

Ironically, people who used to use the technology of Microsoft’s competitors, because they didn’t like Microsoft’s greed for power, are now switching back to Microsoft.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/04/no-facebook-no-iphone-digital-independence

Questions

  1. According to the article, why did some people dislike Microsoft in the earlier days of computer technology?
  2. According to the article, what sort of action did they take as a consequence of their dislike of Microsoft?
  3. According to the article, was this sort of action accessible to anybody who didn’t like Microsoft?
  4. According to the article, what has changed as against the earlier days of computing with respect to Microsoft?
  5. Why are some people returning to Microsoft?
  6. Are you concerned about computer giants collecting data on their customers?
  7. Have you taken any precautionary measures?

Vocabulary

proprietary (1) – a proprietary product is one that is sold under a trade name [≠ generic], that is protected by copyright

pervasive (2) – existing everywhere

spy on [somebody] (3)– to watch someone secretly in order to find out what they are doing

gadget (4) – a small device with practical uses often thought of as a novelty

 

You can find additional explanation and more examples to help you understand and use English words and phrases at https://dictionary.reference.com, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/, https://www.merriam-webster.com/ or https://www.ldoceonline.com/

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