Building the Car of the Future is Big Tech’s Next Monopoly Game

Ford announced that by 2023, its vehicles and trucks would come preloaded with Google Maps, Assistant, and the Play Store. CEO Jim Farley called the alliance an opportunity to “reinvent” the automobile, transforming it into an office-on-wheels with greater connection than any phone or laptop.

“We were spending hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions every year, keeping up with basically a generic experience that was not competitive to your cellphone,”

Farley said on CNBC, announcing the six-year deal with the tech giant.

The partnership offered Ford some much-needed clout, while Google got a chance to show off its goods to millions of drivers and passengers. On the other hand, many tech industry watchdogs had a different perspective on the potential Ford-Google automobile. They are concerned that tech corporations will soon do to vehicles what they did to phones: tying their proprietary operating systems to specific items to drive out competitors and control a large portion of the global economy.

The smartphone battles have ended, and Google and Apple have triumphed. They’re now slugging it out with Amazon to control how you use your car. All three see automobiles as the next big opportunity to reach out to Americans, who spend more time behind the wheel than anyplace else outside their home or job. After years of attempting to integrate cutting-edge technologies into cars on their own, automakers are increasingly seeking Silicon Valley’s assistance, hoping to adopt both its technology and its lucrative business models. Consumers pay monthly for ongoing services rather than purchasing a product once.

“It’s really hard to remedy anticompetitive conduct five or ten years down the line. For many consumers, buying a car is a long-term decision. If a consumer is going to be locked into services with a certain company because they bought a car that they are going to use for five to ten years, that can make the competition more difficult,” said Charlotte Slaiman, competition policy director for Public Knowledge.

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