OP-ED: Jedi Blue: A Dangerous Case of Co-opetition

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Two of the biggest giants of the tech world, Facebook, now named Meta, and Google, joined hands to gain dual ownership of the online ad market in order to transfer the flow of profit in their favor and push out competition. 

When asked about the agreement, Neloy Islam, a recent Computer Science graduate from QC warns that, “This is not only bad for the tech industry, but also for the future of the internet…this shady deal between Google and one of their biggest competitors is definitely something to be fearful of.” As we move towards a global technocracy and additional parts of our lives become commodified by the hyper-capitalist technology industry, we genuinely don’t know what to be fearful of anymore. 

So what exactly is Jedi Blue (and where does it fit into all this? Meta initially declared it would join hands with outside companies to challenge Google’s dominance in the online ad industry. However, Meta changed its mind as the executives of both Meta and Google decided it would be best for the two companies to work together and finish off the competition. In doing so, Google will give Meta priority in ad placement and, in return, Meta will support Google’s dominance over the industry by declining outside competitors. It’s a win-win situation for both companies. 

The legality of the deal hinges on one essential question: are these two companies creating a monopoly? Are we even at the point anymore where these two companies don’t control the flow of the internet? The internet, which at its birth was meant to be a public good, has become anything but public. As of right now it is uncertain whether legal action will be taken against Facebook or Google, no one knows. The Jedi Blue deal is going under the radar, as if it was a conspiracy. However, it is a very real threat for the internet. Google has legally acknowledged the existence of similar deals in the past, such as Project Bernanke

Amit Das, a master’s candidate in Computer Science at The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley said, “it’s a classic case of co-opetition.” He defined co-opetition as a  collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results. The term stitches two words together: co-operation and competition. In the case of Jedi Blue, Meta and Google are engaged in co-opetition so that they can kill off the smaller competition in the online ad market. Amit told me that “this has always happened. Consider the 2013 deal between General Motors and Ford regarding the development of automatic transmission. There has been a good amount of research work on the co-opetition between Samsung and Sony.” Obviously, as someone who isn’t actively engaged in the world of tech, my question was: do you see Jedi Blue as a good thing or bad? He answered: “Bad. This deal only benefits the executives at the top of Google and Facebook; no one else will benefit from this.” 

Regulations for big tech have been one of the important issues in recent election cycles ,yet Democratic and Republican voters rarely disagree about it; both parties think big tech should be regulated. It is ironic, then, that officials from both parties rarely speak up against big tech. Is it because our politicians are old and don’t care about the future of the internet? Or, is it because our politicians are greedy and will do anything for tech lobbying-money?

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