Published: Sat, March 09, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Elizabeth Warren seeks to break up Google, Facebook and Amazon

Elizabeth Warren seeks to break up Google, Facebook and Amazon

Warren's Medium post references Microsoft and how the US government successfully cowed that belligerent monopolist nearly 20 years ago.

She turned most of her ire on Amazon, Facebook and Google, though.

The back story. The proposal comes as the Democratic Party has increasingly focused on both combating a growing concentration of economic power in the US and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The proposal marks the most ambitious and aggressive effort targeting the tech industry offered by any Democratic contender for the White House, and it could put pressure on other presidential aspirants to offer similar plans for more aggressive tech oversight. For instance, Columbia law professor Tim Wu published The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age in November, which argues that monopolies and their near relations are the defining feature of the current USA economy.

NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group whose members include Facebook and other online companies, said Warren's plan would lead to higher prices for Americans.

Warren, an antitrust advocate who hammered big banks following the 2007-2009 financial crisis, said she would select regulators who would seek to break up what she called "anti-competitive mergers" such as Facebook's recent buyout of Instagram and Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods.

Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout praised the plan, calling it as a sign that a "new anti-monopoly movement is happening, and Warren is coming out swinging at the right targets!" "They've bulldozed competition and tilted the playing field in their favor".

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions panelists testifying before Senate Armed Services subcommittees on the Military Housing Privatization Initiative in Washington, U.S. February 13, 2019.

But her point is that today's big tech companies, which only exist because Microsoft was busy fending off its antitrust issues, are too powerful.

Driving the proposal: Warren is concerned that big tech companies use their power to snap up competitors or drive them out of business. Google has clashed with smaller companies, like Yelp, over search placements. Agreeing with Warren, she added, "The big tech monsters are conglomerates with too much power that they use to extract wealth and data from all us of us as if we are subjects in their feudal regimes".

Warren's latest policy proposal promised to be a central element of her NY appearance as well as her scheduled visit Saturday to the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.

"Here's what will change", she continues. "Tech entrepreneurs would have a fighting chance to compete against the tech giants".

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