Elizabeth Warren: ‘It’s Time to Break Up’ Amazon, Facebook and Google

10 March, 2019, 00:18 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren Announces Plan To Break Up Amazon, Google And Facebook

Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan for how to break up the nation's technology behemoths on Friday.

Under her proposal, so-called designated platform utilities with more than $US25 billion ($35.5 billion) in global revenue would be prohibited from owning any of the participants on their own platform.

Ms Warren specifically said she would seek to unwind Amazon's acquisition of the Whole Foods grocery chain and shoe retailer Zappos, Facebook's WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google's integration of the ad tech firm DoubleClick, internet of things maker Nest and mobile navigation application Waze.

But now those tech companies have " too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy", Warren argued.

The senior U.S. senator and a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination said the companies had "bulldozed competition and tilted the playing field in their favour" as she laid out a plan for strict antitrust rules.

Warren will hold a presidential campaign rally in Long Island City, New York, which was supposed to be the hub of a major new Amazon headquarters, and called for the appointment of regulators who would "unwind tech mergers that illegally undermine competition".

"Giants are not allowed to buy out the competition".

Warren is seeking to stand out in a Democratic field crowded with progressives vying to take on U.S. President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. "Google Search would have to be spun off as well", she wrote.

Warren will reportedly call for greater regulation of the biggest companies, as well as more scrutiny of their acquisitions.

In her statement, Warren promised users would still be able to "go on Google and search like you do today" or "go on Amazon and find 30 different coffee machines".

Warren's proposal would also prevent Amazon from selling its own branded products through its platform, resulting in lost revenue for the company but not killing the business model of taking a cut of every other transaction on the website.

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.

U.S. Congress held a series of hearings a year ago looking at the dominance of major tech companies and their role in displacing or swallowing up existing businesses, among other things. Warren urged supporters of her plan to sign a petition. "Never before have consumers and workers had more access to goods, services and opportunities online", said Carl Szabo, NetChoice vice president and general counsel.

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. The big challenge, she says, is political and financial heft.

Vermont's Bernie Sanders, another presidential candidate, in 2018 even named a bill after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Stop BEZOS Act, which would tax big companies if their employees receive public benefits.


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