Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said today that, if elected president in 2020, her administration will break up the giants of the tech industry, including Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
Pointing to the antitrust battle over Microsoft in the 1990s, warren said the companies must be broken up to stimulate competition in a monopolistic market.
Warren said: “As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people.”
“To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies,” she added.
The proposal notes that major companies have tightened their grip on the digital market through mergers, but regulators have largely let those deals pass. The result, Warren writes, has been “a dramatic reduction in competition and innovation in the tech sector.”
Warren’s proposal includes a plan to pass legislation designating platforms with more than $25 billion in revenue as “platform utilities,” which would be barred from owning both the platform and “participants” on the platform at the same time. Smaller companies would not face the same requirements. A law like that would have immediate effects on the digital economy, the proposal continues, as Google is forced to spin off Search and Amazon spins off Marketplace.
As president, Warren writes, she would also appoint regulators to reverse mergers that have already been completed. The proposal names some of those mergers specifically, including Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google’s acquisition of Waze and Nest.
Warren said that proposal wouldn’t solve every problem on the modern internet. There will still be foreign election interference and data privacy issues to consider. But healthy competition can solve a lot of problems said warren.