It's not so beyond the realm of possibility that we assume it's some sort of technical trickery, but it's odd enough to make us look. The three tech giants are rivals, but they have a lot of shared interests. Both Amazon and Google, for example, are pursuing using drones for delivery, while Apple may someday join the search giant in attempting to get driverless cars legalized.
While the three technology leaders may be competitors, they're also run by people smart enough to see that their mutual goals require a certain level of working together. That's partly why Amazon, Apple, and Google have joined Intuit and PayPal to form Financial Innovation Now (FIN), a coalition that will promote policies to help foster greater innovation in financial services.
"Innovation is coming to financial services, and now is the time for Washington to help enable a modern financial system that is more accessible, affordable, and secure," said FIN Executive Director Brian Peters in a press release. He continued:
This alliance of remarkably innovative companies brings a new voice to Washington's financial conversations, and we look forward to engaging on a wide range of opportunities. Whether it is protecting consumers, growing small businesses, or promoting financial literacy and savings, Financial Innovation Now wants policymakers to understand how new technologies can help solve today's policy challenges.
Why is this happening?
Apple, Google, and Amazon, along with the others, are all at the frontier of changing how people pay for things and the technology behind those transactions. The companies want to use FIN to lobby Washington to make sure laws keeps pace with innovation. To make that happen, the organization will promote policies that aim to:
- Realize trust and safety of new technologies.
- Leverage technology to reduce barriers and enhance access for the underserved.
- Enable real-time payments clearing processes.
- Expand the online marketplace for consumer and small business lending.
- Unlock the power of financial applications.
"The regulatory environment must allow these new innovations to enter and compete in the marketplace," said Peters. "We look forward to working with policymakers to promote the adoption of new services, many of which are already bringing significant benefits to consumers and small businesses today."
Why does this matter?
In some cases, the law gets in the way of technology. In other cases, legal issues have to be decided in order for tech advances to be implemented. For example, nobody wants a sky filled with drones if the various companies using them are not governed by some sort of federal regulation. If that happened, it would be like an airport without air traffic controllers. Each company might be safe in its own practices, but put it all together, and you have chaos.
By working together, these five companies can help the government adapt to and integrate new technologies. The numbers involved could be very significant: Goldman Sachs estimates $4.7 trillion in revenue could be up for grabs as technology upends borrowing, lending, making payments and investing.
FIN gives these technology leaders a voice, and all five of them participating gives greater credibility. Apple, Amazon, and Google all have lobbying arms, but any one company operating on its own will put its own interests first. Grouping five separate technology leaders that don't always have mutually beneficial end goals creates an organization fighting for the broad strokes that set up the parameters for competition.
This should benefit the American people and help these five companies -- as well as others in the digital financial transaction space -- move forward sensibly, but quickly.
Daniel Kline owns shares of Apple. He would have preferred the companies give the new group a cooler name, perhaps Tech Monsters or #DigitalPay. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A and C shares), Amazon.com, Apple, Intuit, and PayPal Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.