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Who Wins When Tech’s ‘Four Horsemen’ Face Off?

Who Wins When Tech’s ‘Four Horsemen’ Face Off?

Despite the domineering presence of global tech behemoths Inc.

, their future is far from secure, according to NYU’s Scott Galloway. As the giants are pitted against each other in key markets, increasingly eyed by regulators around the globe, they will face competition from other tech giants, most notably sharing economy unicorn Airbnb. (See also: Tech Sector Blows Past Its Bubble-Era Heights.)

In the professor’s new book on the subject, titled “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” Galloway not only criticizes the tech giants on taxes, privacy and jobs but suggests that they will face off against each other in a “battle of the giants.”

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“At least two or three now compete in each other’s markets, whether it’s advertising, music, books, movies, social networks, cell phones—or lately, autonomous vehicles,” said Galloway.

Amazon Should Spinoff AWS

In an interview with CNBC, the professor noted that “only Apple has the potential to cheat death,” given its position as a luxury brand with better margins and a competitive edge.

As for Seattle-based e-commerce and cloud computing leader Amazon, the author suggests that the company should break up to appease regulators. He indicates that if Amazon were smart, if would spinoff its public cloud platform Amazon Web Services (AWS). “It would increase value and keep regulators at bay for another couple of years,” said Galloway.

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As the Four Horsemen continue to compete against internet giants such as Alibaba Group (BABA) and Uber Technologies Inc. (set to hit the public market by 2019), the professor forecasts Airbnb as having the best shot at beating out the industry leaders.

Risks of Regulation

Galloway highlights the risk of an industry “barreling toward regulation,” which could cause a “huge shift in the public and government’s perception and treatment of these companies.” He notes the recent investigation into Russian meddling in the election, with Facebook at the center, presents a possible turning point for the social media company’s reputation. The author also expects a “$10 billion-plus fine to come out of Europe.”

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While new startups will have a hard time beating out the market leaders due to various factors including their sheer market cap, the author doesn’t completely rule out such a scenario.

“At some kitchen table or a booth at Starbucks, a start-up team, led by the next Steve Jobs, is plotting a new enterprise that could streak past the horsemen to become the first 1-T [$1 trillion] corporation,” writes Galloway. (See also: Roku Surges 68% After IPO: Tech Titans at Risk?)

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