Published: Sat, March 09, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Elizabeth Warren Pushes For Breakup Of Amazon, Google And Facebook

Elizabeth Warren Pushes For Breakup Of Amazon, Google And Facebook

We contacted Amazon, Google, and Facebook about Warren's plan.

Amazon and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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.

Politically speaking, Warren's stance against Big Tech is a way to position herself as a progressive Democratic candidate who will take corporations to task. 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.

In that tradition, she said, her proposal would restore competition to the tech sector through two major steps: Passing legislation that requires large tech platforms to be designated as "platform utilities" and broken apart from any participant on that platform; and appointing regulators committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers. "And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation", Warren wrote. Google would be forced to give navigation app Waze its independence along with Nest and Double click, and Amazon would have to relinquish Whole Foods and Zappos.

Public Knowledge, a tech policy group, called Warren's plan a step toward protecting the next generation of businesses but stopped short of a full-throated support for breaking up the tech giants. She says they've "bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else".

Senator Elizabeth Warren Announces Plan To Break Up Amazon, Google And Facebook
Thanks to Elizabeth Warren, breaking up Big Tech will be a major issue in the primaries

In a post on Medium, the Massachusetts Democrat said today's big tech companies have too much power over the economy, our society and our democracy.

"Instead of nationalizing these industries-as other countries did-Americans in the Progressive Era chose to ensure that these networks would not abuse their power by charging higher prices, offering worse quality, reducing innovation, and favoring some over others", she said.

Warren argued that federal anti-monopoly pressure on Microsoft in the 1990s helped pave the way for Internet companies like Google.

"Sen. Warren is wrong in her assertion that tech markets lack competition".

For example, under Warren's proposal, Facebook would be forced to unwind its purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp. "Amazon crushes small companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version. Tech entrepreneurs would have a fighting chance to compete against the tech giants".

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