I S THERE ANY limit to the ambition and hubris of big tech firms? In October Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook Meta and described humankind's new future in virtual worlds. On January 18th Microsoft, worth more than $2trn, decided it wasn't big enough and bid $69bn for Activision Blizzard, a video-games firm, in its biggest-ever deal. These decisions are part of a vast new investment surge at five of America's biggest firms, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft—call them MAAMA . Together, they have invested $280bn in the past year, equivalent to 9% of American business investment, up from 4% five years ago. Big tech wants to find the next big opportunity, and our analysis of deals, patents, recruitment and other yardsticks shows that cash is flowing into everything from driverless cars to quantum computing. The shift reflects a fear that the lucrative fiefs of the 2010s are losing relevance, and the fact that tech's titans are increasingly moving onto each other's patches (the share of sales that overlap has doubled since 2015 to 40%). So they are all looking to swoop into new territory. They also have an eye on the history of technology, which is littered with once-dominant firms… Read full this story
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