Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat running in the 2020 presidential primaries, wrote in a post that if she is elected, her administration will break up tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and others in an effort to promote competitive markets and protect consumer privacy.
Warren uses the federal government's lawsuit against Microsoft in the 1990s that she believes helped clear the path for the creation of internet companies like Google. “The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services,” she wrote. “Aren’t we all glad that now we have the option of using Google instead of being stuck with Bing?”
If elected, she wrote, her administration will make structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition. She believes that weak antitrust enforcement, without mention of sending manufacturing overseas or limiting foreign work visas, has led to a dramatic reduction in competition and innovation in the tech sector within the United States.
Warren notes that many of these companies have tightened their grip on the digital market through mergers and acquisitions -- and regulators have, for the most part, approved the deals. As a result, she believes, it caused “a dramatic reduction in competition and innovation in the tech sector.”
“Venture capitalists are now hesitant to fund new startups to compete with these big tech companies because it’s so easy for the big companies to either snap up growing competitors or drive them out of business,” she wrote.
The idea to bring “true competition” to the internet may indeed backfire.
“Small businesses would have a fair shot to sell their products on Amazon without the fear of Amazon pushing them out of business,” she writes. “Google couldn’t smother competitors by demoting their products on Google Search. Facebook would face real pressure from Instagram and WhatsApp to improve the user experience and protect our privacy. Tech entrepreneurs would have a fighting chance to compete against the tech giants.”
Warren also wants to designate companies with an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more that offer an online marketplace such as Amazon, or a platform for connecting third parties would be designated as platform utilities. Her plan would prohibit these companies from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform.
Platform utilities would be required to meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory dealing with users and not be allowed to transfer or share data with third parties.