Silicon Valley, last pillar of the American model

Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., April 28, 2017.
Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, April 28, 2017. JUSTIN SULLIVAN / AFP

Aaron Levie, one of the figures in Silicon Valley, was surprised at the start of May. “In 2020, we continue to talk about what was to change the world in 2000: videoconferences, the end of paper, online commerce. The difference is that there is now "an imperative to do it", insists the CEO of Box, a cloud software company that has seen the demand for cloud services explode. "And the technology is finally ready", he concludes.

Silicon Valley was somehow prepared for the virus. From the first cases of contamination, she sent her employees home. Two and a half months later, she was the last pillar – along with the dollar – of a shaken American model.

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No more frightening of addiction to screens; social networks have revived their coat of arms. A survey released March 10 by the Knight Foundation and Gallup found that, for 47% of Americans, tech companies were creating "More problems than they solve(have)ent " (Only 15% said the opposite). But, since the confinement, they are plebiscite. The screen is the "aperitif visio", the "story-time" with grandparents banned from visiting, amplifying the voices of caregivers rather than that of provocateurs. "Has the internet become nice again? ", wondered the New york times 1er April.

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From Netflix to Amazon, tech giants have increased their dominance over the economy. Not only has the pandemic proven them right, but the transition has accelerated. It is not certain that consumers will return to the malls or cinema multiplexes. Sixty-eight percent of them say they will avoid non-essential travel, even to the next world, according to a Harris Poll poll. The changes are going to be "Significant and lasting", predicts Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.

Facebook's redemption

For the first quarter, the Gafam posted profits (10.8 billion dollars for Microsoft, + 22%, 4.9 billion for Facebook, + 102%) which more than reassured the investors, whereas the energy sectors or transport collapsed. Amazon has recruited 175,000 people. Its turnover increased by 26% in three months. Google’s education platform Classroom has seen the number of users double since early March. "We have just witnessed two years of digital transformation in two months", Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, noted the quarterly figures.

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