Google Medicine? Alphabet’s foray into the healthcare arena
There are some industries that are too large and profitable to ignore. In the United States, that industry is healthcare. Wealthy countries typically spend 10% of their GDP on healthcare. Despite having worse outcomes than comparable countries, the US spends an astounding 17%, which amounts to over 3.6 trillion USD per year. Part of the reason it is so massive is that the existing market players have done a phenomenal job over the years of protecting their vested interests. Insurance companies, hospital networks, and drugmakers have built up barriers to entry, established a byzantine network of middlemen, and spent untold fortunes on political lobbying campaigns to protect their pieces of an ever-growing pie. But that pie is impossible for America’s tech giants to ignore.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company as of a few years ago, is not the first such giant to move into the healthcare space. Amazon has a successful online pharmacy and telemedicine business, while Apple keeps adding apps and features that make health tracking easier and more integrated into their tech. But Alphabet has the grandest ambitions of them all. Over the last three years, the company’s venture capital wing has made about 100 deals in the healthcare space (about 25% of its total deals during that period), and they have already spent 1.7 billion USD on its projects. And taking a page from insurance companies, the company has hired former healthcare regulators to navigate America’s healthcare system and lobby on its behalf. Google has a long and successful history of throwing money at projects, yielding such successes as Google Docs, Gmail, and the Android operating system. If you had to place your bets on the tech giant most likely to successfully move into the healthcare arena, I would recommend Alphabet.
Two of the world’s most storied supercar brands, Ferrari and Lamborghini, are struggling to generate the same support for their electric vehicles as their gas-powered masterpieces have always garnered. Both companies come from Italy, and the continent of Europe is moving faster and faster towards electric vehicles. This trend is inescapable, but it is not a trend that is conducive to supercars, at least not yet. One of the defining features of supercars is that they are expensive, luxurious, and downright loud. One hallmark of a supercar is the roar of its overpowered internal combustion engine when you turn it on. They are not designed for typical roadways, even if that is where they are predominantly used, and that iconic roar and the flashy design make heads turn wherever it goes.
These two companies have always been known for being among the vanguard of automobile design. But when it comes to electric vehicles, they are behind the pack. The current leader is Tesla, whose Model S Plaid can accelerate to 100 km/hour in a little over two seconds, which is faster than ANY Lamborghini or Ferrari. Although Ferrari has dabbled in hybrids, it will not be releasing its first fully electric vehicle until 2025. Lamborghini will offer its first plug-in hybrid in 2023, and will not be offering a fully electric vehicle until after 2025. These two companies have spent decades being at the forefront of the industry, but now they are at risk of getting lapped.