by Axios | 3.12.19
When leaders in Silicon Valley assess the new antitrust fever among candidates and policymakers, the prospect of corporate breakups isn't their biggest worry. Instead, insiders fear missing the next cycle of industry change if they're distracted and hobbled by antitrust conflicts.
Why it matters: If executives are busy answering lawmaker inquiries and defending regulator lawsuits, they're less likely to be protecting their businesses from upstart challengers. And if they're under constant regulatory scrutiny, they'll be less able to either elbow aside or snatch up the competition.
Driving the news: Last week Democratic hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled a broad case for breaking up big tech icons like Google, Apple, and Amazon, arguing that operators of platform-style marketplaces should not also be participants in those markets.
Whether or not Warren's campaign takes off, the combination of privacy scandals, misinformation scares and charges of anti-conservative bias mean tech companies face antitrust action no matter who's in charge of Washington.
Flashback: Microsoft's antitrust fight with the feds two decades ago shows the kind of damage such an assault can wreak.
IBM fought a similar epic federal antitrust suit from 1969 to 1982, ultimately prevailing. In both instances, the targeted companies found themselves focused on their legal quandaries and missed the next turn of the industry wheel.
The bottom line: No tech giant has ever been split up by courts, regulators or legislators.
Be smart: For antitrust advocates, the corporate breakup endgame may not matter if, even without such a dramatic outcome, they can still achieve a key goal — ensuring that dominant incumbents can't squash or swallow the next wave of tech innovation.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Written by Axios
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The prospect of corporate breakups isn't their biggest worry. Instead, insiders fear missing the next cycle of industry change if they're distracted and hobbled by antitrust conflicts. You have about six month to get you product to market to keep ahead of your competition. Monopolies can hurt companies not necessarily help. You get to many irons in the fires, you put the fire out.
As Maxine Walters stated in her statement in the Scent hearings As a Liberal she will socialize big business. We need to stop this socialist take over of this country or we will be 100 times in worst shape then when Obama destroyed the economy.
Government’s role is to provide a path to prosperity by removing roadblocks for business, not set up roadblocks to inhibit them.
Google, Facebook and others are far too powerful.
I’m overjoyed the Democrats are biting the hands that have fed them. Seattle learned that lesson, New York is learning it, looks like the Bay Area will have to learn it the hard way.
Scrutinize the heck out of it! Especially North Korea, China & Russia😩
If antitrust issues distract them, they are wealthy enough to hire more staff. Who can trust a big company that can’t walk & chew gum at the same time? Stop with the excuses and deal with the consequences you reaped.
Is there anyone out there who thinks the breakup of AT&T was *not* a good thing for the tech industry?
I am not so worried about Google or Apple, but Amazon is out of control. Since they have waded in to so many different markets, however, I am not sure how it fits the antitrust regulations; in fact, I could almost believe that they deliberately went into multiple markets for that very reason. I definitely think looking into Amazon is reasonable.
I notice the GOP going heavy on anti-thrust issues.To be a party that’s believes in the free market they sure like to intervene a lot. This type of intervention could hamper the technological edge of our nation. I urge you to oppose this issue
The distraction becomes acute when these US companies are competing on a world stage with China, Russia, and the like. This isn't about individual companies' anymore.
Yes! What if a smaller competitor offers a product that works better than the dominant one? (For instance, on one of the PCs I had, I used Mozilla Firefox for a while because Microsoft Internet Explorer kept crashing on me.) If not for government scrutiny of the tech giants, their upstart competitors wouldn’t have a chance. And the “little guy” can sometimes offer a product that is superior to the top selling product on the market.
Learn from the past. It was tried 20+ years ago and failed. There’s no reason to try again. When it comes to operating systems, there’s Windows, OS X, Unix, BSD, Android, Linux, and many others out there. The most prevalent one being Windows. With office suites there’s way more than MS Office and the much less expensive Apple office apps. There’s literally tons of free office suites that are compatible with Microsoft and available to ANY operating system. EMail clients and chat utilities are a dime a dozen, both more and less feature laden than Outlook. A person can order a computer WITHOUT an operating system and install his choice of systems. If he want a free system he can get Linux in one of its many “flavors” or, if he wants to go the expensive route, he can install Windows. Granted, Linus, BSD and Unix take quite a bit of knowledge to effectively set up but so did DOS in the early days of PC’s. There are enough developers that write software under the GNU license and enough freeware out there to satisfy any user once he learns how to do a search. And then there’s the Open Source route for software that is often better than the junk that Microsoft puts out. It, too, is free where Microsoft charges an arm and a leg. The last 4 iterations of OS X for Apple have been free for the taking. With all of these choices, I, personally, don’t see a problem with the companies remaining intact. Besides, if you are going to buy a piece of technology, you should research it before walking into the store and putting your money down.
Big Tech has gotten far too powerful.
Absolutely...finally something both parties agree upon!
Trust busting should never have gone out of fashion.
Never trust E. Warren the known liar.
Free World, Free Market Economy! Government needs to stay out of private businesses.