Elizabeth Warren Wants to Break Up Amazon, Facebook, and Google

Posted on March 8, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Apple, Cloud, Social with 149 Comments

U.S. presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google and “unwind” all their recent acquisitions.

“Facebook, Amazon, and Google have vast power over our economy and democracy,” Ms. Warren tweeted today, linking to a Medium post that goes into greater detail about her plans. “They’ve bulldozed competition and tilted the playing field in their favor. Time to break up these companies so they don’t have so much power over everyone else.”

Warren’s Medium post references Microsoft and how the U.S. government successfully cowed that belligerent monopolist almost 20 years ago. It also inexplicably pokes fun at Microsoft.

“The federal government sued Microsoft for violating anti-monopoly laws and eventually reached a settlement,” she writes. “The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. 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. Aren’t we all glad that now we have the option of using Google instead of being stuck with Bing?”


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.

“We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor,” she continues. “That’s why my Administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition — including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.”

Warren’s plan goes beyond just breaking up these companies. She always wants to reverse what she calls “illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers.” Which, by the way, all met regulatory scrutiny. She would like to “unwind” the mergers and acquisitions that brought Whole Foods and Zappos to Amazon; WhatsApp and Instagram to Facebook; and Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick to Google. This will institute real change in the tech industry, she says.

“You’ll still be able to go on Google and search like you do today,” she explains. “You’ll still be able to go on Amazon and find 30 different coffee machines that you can get delivered to your house in two days. You’ll still be able to go on Facebook and see how your old friend from school is doing”

“Here’s what will change,” she continues. “Small businesses would have a fair shot to sell their products on Amazon without the fear of Amazon pushing them out of business. 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.”

Honestly, the outcome sounds pretty reasonable. It’s just that reversing mergers and acquisitions that were approved in the past sounds awfully illegal.

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Comments (149)

149 responses to “Elizabeth Warren Wants to Break Up Amazon, Facebook, and Google”

  1. sportflier

    I hope someone let her know that Facebook owns Instagram.

  2. jaredthegeek

    Yes, we need to stop Amazon from crushing WalMart.

  3. rmlounsbury

    It seems to me the government had it's shot to prevent these companies from becoming the mega-powers that they are today by stopping the many acquisitions that they've made.

    The government and regulating bodies had their chance and they didn't act. They can't legally tear down what they allowed to be built unless they want to re-write the rule-books. In which case, Welcome to the USA, Comrade.

  4. bennett_cg

    Quick show of hands: who here has done small-business retail work? Event promoting?

    I just want to be sure I have the data, because my assumption is that most everyone here is in STEM fields, and not directly impacted by the business practices of these companies.

  5. navarac

    You've only got to look at the cock-up the British Politians are making of Brexit. Politicians do not know best.

    • bdollerup

      In reply to navarac:

      You may want to look up why the UK voted the way they did and why they are in mess they are in. Certain people and organisations didn't exactly tell the people the truth about the fiscal detail and the "cost" of being in the EU. And there's also a demographic divider as wll.

  6. Michael Zeldin

    Too bad most folks don't realize that Warren is following the path taken by Teddy Roosevelt to curb the excesses that occur in capitalism. Nothing new but the approach does work for the US. It's not at all radical. And it sure is not the other isms and "government over reach" people tend to invoke when scared of change. And we need change to move into the 21st century with confidence.

  7. skane2600

    It's interesting to consider how much of the fundamental technology we use today was developed by the big former monopolies of IBM, Xerox and AT&T.

  8. Bats

    I would be happy to debate this argument, but looking at who it's coming from.........LOL. Elizabeth Warren is nuts. You can't debate a socialist nut. They're crazy, especially when she calls herself a Cherokee indian because of her cheek bones. People like this should move to France where they are all dumb.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Bats:

      Some good has come from her. She was the one who first proposed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Although she has no affiliation with any Native American tribe, she did prove she had Native American ancestry. She was mocked for lying about it and then mocked for proving she wasn't lying. It's an invented issue.

      • NoFlames

        In reply to skane2600:

        She determined from her own personal friend who did the tests she was 1/1024 of people native to central/south America. That isn't proof of American Indian, and certainly not enough to qualify as the protected class. She used this to get ahead in her schooling and jobs, presumably displacing an actual Native American Indian in the process. That's the problem.

        • skane2600

          In reply to NoFlames:

          "According to the report, Warren’s test results show that she is of “primarily European descent,” but also that she has at least five genetic segments that are “Native American in origin at high confidence.”"

          The test was conducted by Carlos Bustamante who is considered an expert and in fact is an adviser to both 23andMe and Ancestry.com.

          Do you have evidence that she "got ahead" because of her claim of partial Native American ancestry? Either a Native American was displaced or was not. There's nothing to presume.

          • locust infested orchard inc

            In reply to skane2600:

            It's pleasing to see you have researched the claims of Ms Warren's DNA testing regarding her Native American status, rather than taking sides, one way or the other, without knowing the facts.

            If I may, allow me to add some vital info that casts doubts on the reliability of the results of the DNA tests conducted – though not because of a lack of scientific rigour, or a stitch-up, I hasten to add.

            In order to establish whether anyone has Native American heritage, their needs to be DNA from Native Americans to which to compare. However there is an absence of Native American DNA available for comparison. This is in part because Native American leaders have asked tribal members not to participate in genetic databases, as the tribes have felt they have been exploited.

            To compensate for the sparse Native American DNA, any testing makes use DNA samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American, as scientists believe that the groups Americans refer to as "Native American" came to this land via the Bering Strait about 12,000 years ago and settled in what’s now America but also migrated further south.

            The report further explains that the use of reference populations, whose genetic material had been fully sequenced (thereby finding DNA markers that identity tribal genetic characteristics), was designed "for maximal accuracy", though is not absolutely accurate, more of an indication of the likelihood of a heritage link.

            Carlos Bustamante (the DNA expert) also compared Warren’s DNA to white populations in Utah and Great Britain to determine if the amounts of Native American markers in Ms Warren's sample were significant or just background noise. The results concluded Ms Warren has 12 times more Native American "blood" than a white person from Great Britain and 10 times more than a white person from Utah.

            So a white person from Utah can be proud that (s)he is two times more Native American than a white Briton !!

            I could also stake a claim that I'm related to you, and both you and I are related to Paul Thurrott. Well of course we are, for we all, at one point in time had a common ancestor.

            So I am of the opinion with the low probability of Elizabeth Warren being Native American, or put another way, the Native American "blood" in her is so dilute, it's not factually accurate for her to stake a claim as a Native American, but her ancestral lineage indicates a link to Native Americans.

          • Greg Green

            In reply to skane2600:

            Yes, she put Native American on at least one application, and several publications after she was hired list her as a minorty.

            The local tribe says they have no records of her or her family being associated with the native people in any way. They are the authority on this.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to skane2600:

            . . . Do you have evidence that she "got ahead" because of her claim of partial Native American ancestry? . . .

            There's some evidence she claimed her ethnicity as American Indian. Whether that worked to her advantage due to affirmative action is unknown. However, it should have been clear to her that she sure had a lot more European than Native American ancestry.

            Either she lied or she's way to credulous with respect to family stories to be trusted with the US presidency.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to skane2600:

        That’s only a good thing if you think citizens are too stupid to figure out credit cards.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Greg Green:

          If you actually posted an argument, I'd consider responding to it..

          • Greg Green

            In reply to skane2600:

            The argument was inherent in the statement. Perhaps you’re one of those who need the CFPB to select your credit card for you.

            • skane2600

              In reply to Greg Green:

              I don't like to assume someone's argument no matter how "inherent" it is to them.

              With regard to your clarified argument: You don't have to look any farther than CFPB's actions against Wells Fargo's opening of fraudulent accounts to understand that helping people understand or select a credit card isn't its primary purpose or activity. I think customers who received full refunds thanks to the CFPB, would be happy it exists.

              • Greg Green

                In reply to skane2600:

                There are plenty of other agencies that can exact justice on banks, FTC, SEC, HUD, IRS, DOJ, FBI, etc. BCFP is just another place for lobbyists to gather, already with 120 lobbyists registered to petition the agency. If Warren’s goal was to feed lobbyists’ troughs she succeeded.

                Also this extra level of bureaucracy makes it harder for small banks to survive, the one who don’t have armies of lawyers, accountants and lobbyists. Those are the ones most likely to be ‘fair’ and friendly to consumers. Already we’ve lost 25% of the community banks this century. Federal regs, whether through Fannie Mae or other agencies play a big part in that.

                • skane2600

                  In reply to Greg Green:

                  It's not a question of what other agencies "can" do, but rather what they are willing to do. Besides most of those agencies wouldn't have the authority to resolve the issue with Wells Fargo. None of those agencies are focused on consumer protection and their lack of action to protect consumers in the past is the very reason the CFPB needed to exist.

                  I also see how you're trying to throw in Federal regulations in general even though we are specifically discussing CFPB . I suspect that community banks that closed within the last century did so primarily because of simple competition like all other small businesses categories have during that time period. Amazon hasn't taken away business from brick-and-mortar businesses because the latter was overburdened by federal regulations. They did so through economies of scale and the convenience of ordering online.

    • provision l-3

      In reply to Bats:

      The short version of your comment is "I'd debate this but I can't do on substance so I'll make a bunch of personal attacks instead."

    • locust infested orchard inc

      Quote by Bats, "People like this [i.e., Elizabeth Warren] should move to France where they are all dumb."

      Isn't it ironic that in the same breath you lambast 'fake Pocahontas' (Elizabeth Warren) for suggesting she has a Native American ancestor dating back six to ten generations, based upon DNA tests she had conducted, you deride and condescend all the good people of France.

      You fail to recollect the iconic copper structure that stands tall on Liberty Island in New York was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States.

      Should you still not accept your statement about the French people is outrageously defamatory, then we would like our Statue of Liberty returned.

  9. donaldhall3

    I believe she's literally just jumped the shark.

  10. martinm

    Great, another poorly constructed set of ideas from someone wanting to be President. Like the Presidential mess we have currently is not enough. Sigh.

  11. dcdevito

    I'm all for regulation, but do you know what frightens me more than big powerful companies? Big powerful governments.

    Break up the telecoms first!!

  12. trevor_chdwck

    This is rediculous. Was Whatsapp forced to sell to Facebook? Was Nest forced to sell to Google? No! Those companies chose to sell, and all of these large companies have viable alternatives, Google - > Bing, Amazon - > eBay, Facebook? Any one of Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Point being is if any of these companies try to abuse their power, they lose people and money to other platforms that grow in response to people leaving, it's the power of the free market that auto-corrects for things like this. It wasn't government intervention that allowed for the rise of Google, Facebook or Amazon. Microsoft missing the tech trends is what did that. Ms. Warren isn't looking hard enough at the cause and effect, or she is twisting history to match her narrative. (which given her history, is more than likely the case)

  13. skane2600

    As someone who doesn't want to see Trump re-elected, I'm dismayed about Democrats failing to choose their battles carefully. It's like they're playing into the oppositions hands. Sanders could have had the same exact policy proposals without labeling himself a "Democratic Socialist" and he (and some other candidates) should have realized that many voters are incapable of understanding the difference between that term and the "socialism" they've been taught is evil. I suspect Trump's sudden interest in condemning the regime in Venezuela (as opposed to a failure to condemn even worse regimes in North Korea, Russia, and Saudi Arabia) is related to the Venezuela == socialism trope.

  14. Steven Stolarski

    I wonder what cooling effect arbitrarily reversing acquisitions will have on the founding new companies. We are not talking about hostile take overs here. These are exit strategies that allow return on investments that might not happen otherwise.

  15. DaveMcLain

    Yea sure. I thought she was going to stop that crap like Rachel from Card Services...... She's all talk no action...

    • locust infested orchard inc

      Quote by DaveMcLain "She's all talk no action"

      For crying out loud, Elizabeth Warren isn't even the Democratic nominee, yet alone POTUS – how the hell can she take action. Her Medium.com post was a rallying call to people who subscribe to her thoughts.

      It makes me wonder with the bull ? comments on the internet, are people simply finger-trigger-happy without processing the words one writes through their grey matter ?

      Or is it people are genuinely ignorant or unaware of the topic at hand, yet still blabber as if their opinion is the only opinion worthy of being appreciated ?

  16. MutualCore

    So stupid.

  17. pargon

    Trump already has it out for Amazon and Google and Facebook. All 3 are the purveyors of Fake News. Praise from Paul for this liberal lunatic whose campaign slogan should be Elizabeth Warren - 1/2020th and yet he's always raging against Trump.

    This isn't news at all, and no way she would actually attempt this. Those 3 companies are shills for all things the democratic party wants. And most importantly, no way she'll win! Have you seen the woman, strike that, the robot have a beer?

  18. red.radar

    I am in favor. We are in a new era of robber barrons where they extend horizontally not vertically through markets. These ecosystems alter the fair and reasonable competitive choices a consumer would make when evaluating products. Example Chrome. You can’t visit the google home page without being harassed with scare messages about how your browser is insecure and the internet is better with chrome.

    I am very much in favor of reasonable policy discussions that improve the competitive landscape of the tech sector. Even in the hardware sectors companies have been swallowing themselves whole. It’s terrible because that means high tech jobs are available in fewer companies.

    We need to look into the new realities of poor competitive behavior and even more critically look at mergers and acquisitions to see if they are necessary.

    Underneath th the sound bite and headline I think this is a great topic for 2020

  19. Mark from CO


    Note the populist (not progressive) tone here. You can almost hear a T(ri)ump-phal tone. The only problem is that her progressive politics would only make a mess out of valid anti-trust concerns.

  20. eric_rasmussen

    Being bought by one of the tech giants is actually a legitimate business strategy. A lot of start-ups are created with that goal explicitly in mind (Discord, for example).

    • wright_is

      In reply to Eric_Rasmussen:

      Which shows what a pitiful state the industry is in. People aren't making businesses that they think are good and sustainable, they are just in it for a quick buck and get out (sell it to some mug) before it collapses.

  21. bob25

    This could be great for Microsoft--maybe they could "unwind" their Nokia acquisition. ;)

  22. hrlngrv

    IANAL. Breaking up companies for anticompetitive practices is one thing, reversing otherwise legal at the time acquisitions is quite another as it smacks of ex post facto lawmaking, which is unconstitutional in the US.

  23. mdlynam

    Bless her heart.

  24. the_real_entheos

    The lack of enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust act of 1890 (at least 11 years before it was vigorously used by T.R.) started in the Reagan administration. There is nothing set in stone that says you cannot "go back" on acquisitions: See the breakup of Ma Bell (AT&T) in the 1970's (1974-1982). AT&T was allowed on many occasions with our government to acquire smaller telephone systems in exchange for some concessions and divestitures prior to this case, most notably in 1913 Kingsbury agreement. To make an argument that the horse is already out of the barn is not valid.

  25. Jollytiki

    Whew I will set a reminder in my Google Calendar to not vote for her

  26. karlinhigh

    Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex, "I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup."

  27. Daekar

    I can't say that part of me wouldn't love to see this happen. She's not wrong that they're too powerful. What's she going to do though, wave her magic wand, change the laws, and do away with a century of anti-trust jurisprudence?

    Silicon Valley employs hordes of bloodthirsty lawyers that would be absolutely thrilled to see her try it.

    On the other hand, she might be pulling a Trump. She knows damn well she can't deliver, but hopes to resonate with voters by telling them she'll do what they want to see done anyway.

    • bennett_cg

      In reply to Daekar:

      IANAL, but a regulatory body such as the FTC could, if legislatively empowered with a proper legal framework, accomplish a great many more things that it is currently chartered to. The whole NN/Title II issue with the current FCC is based on regulatory powers charged to that agency for specific types of services. The Wheeler FCC declared that ISPs provide a telecom service, making them subject to a particular set of regulations. The Pai FCC declared that ISPs provide an information service, making them subject to a different set of regulations (from a different regulatory body, no less).

      Both of those legal entities - information service, telecom service - were first defined by the legislature. With the right rule-making, jurisprudence is moot.

  28. MrKirbs

    The only way to stop Amazon from being able to crush small business is to remove its ability to create physical goods at all. Which sounds legally impossible in a capitalist system, or likely to cause work arounds that come with tons of additional overhead at any conglomerate in the country. This policy sounds like a crock without pages upon pages of implementation details and research.

  29. bart

    Funny to see the US looking at the-EU-way-of-things

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Bart:

      It's just a small vocal part of the Democrat party that looks at things this way. Probably only 10-20% of the population.

      • the_real_entheos

        In reply to lvthunder:

        It is actually a majority of Americans that feel this way, not just a majority of people who tend to vote for Democrats. The bought and paid for establishment Democrats are actually a tiny minority, yet are great at raising huge cash from corporate donors.

        A majority of self identified Republicans are also in favor of single-payer health care as well.

  30. MikeGalos

    Works for me. All three companies have monopoly power in their markets and all three have clearly abused that power far above the bar set in DOJ v Microsoft.

    • Andi

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Hey, wait a minute. Apple has actually been a "belligerent monopolist", using Mrs. Warren' words, twice - wage fixing and ebook price fixing. Those were anti trust rules they broke. Amazon has yet to be actually proven a belligerent monopolist and calls are being made to break it apart. With Walmart's Jet efforts it would be hard to make Amazon a belligerent monopolist.

      • BradDPatton

        In reply to Andi:

        Amazon's Basics (their house brand) has specifically copied products that were hot-sellers on their Marketplace and driven other sellers away from those products. Amazon promotes it's Basics at the top of search results. Third-party vendors find it hard to compete with that.

    • puggsly

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      If we are lucky we can weaken these companies enough to have other countries create viable competitors. Maybe Alibaba can put Amazon in it's place or Baidu can make some inroads on Google. Now I'm not advocating to keep with the monster you have, we have to keep an eye on these companies but we need specific things to be concerned about, not just be concerned because they could do something wrong, but because they did do something wrong.

      The tech industry is constantly evolving, FaceBook just indicated that they believe their future to be Chat, so they need to be able to pivot and What'sApp gives them the ability. These large companies diversify into each others spaces which keeps up competition. New companies, with new ideas popup and are accelerated when purchased by these huge companies.

      Over all I have to say it is working for the US economy and not a great platform for a Presidential hopeful. IMHO

  31. lvthunder

    The outcome sounds pretty reasonable? Really. How is Amazon not owning Zappos and Whole Foods going to stop them from pushing out small business? How does Google not owning Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick stop them from demoting sites on Google Search?

    She is just anti-business. She can't stand the success some have had in our capitalistic economy. All of the mainstream Democratic candidates are just like her. It's no wonder President Trump won the last election and has a good chance of being reelected.

    • bart

      In reply to lvthunder:

      The anti-business rethoric is too easy. These comapnies are too big. Just because it is going to be a big task to instill competion, it doesn't mean it shouldn't happen/ This is the exact reason why the EU commission is looking at big tech companies like Google. Maybe the US can learn a thing or two

      • lvthunder

        In reply to Bart:

        Generally the too easy way is the truth. Just because a company is too big doesn't mean you throw out the law and get retribution for them being very sucessful. You can't void a merger 5-10 years after it's happened. That's just crazy.

        • bart

          In reply to lvthunder:

          Just because a company is successful, it doesn't mean it should control a society like it does. Is it good to make money? Yes! At all cost? No

          • lvthunder

            In reply to Bart:

            I would say the entertainment industry and the two political parties control society more than any of those tech companies.

          • jimchamplin

            In reply to Bart:

            ^ This.

            Unchecked capitalism has led to the decline of the nation. The profit-before-responsibility mindset can only lead to ruin, since it systematically squeezes the consumer out of the very market that the economy needs them to participate in, thus leading to mass poverty, and the stagnation of markets.

            Capitalism can be done right, but what we suffer in the US sure isn’t it.

            • Daekar

              In reply to jimchamplin:

              If you think the US has unchecked capitalism, then nobody has even taught you what pure capitalism looks like. We don't have it, and haven't for over 100 years, if ever.

            • lvthunder

              In reply to jimchamplin:

              What? Mass poverty?? Even some of the poorest people in the US are in the richest 1% of the world.

              " Pervasiveness of Poverty

              The bar to enter the top 1 percent wouldn't be this low were it not for the extreme poverty that so much of the globe endures. For example, the average adult in India has $7,024 in total wealth, according to a report by Credit Suisse. The average wealth of adults in Africa is even lower, at just $4,138.

              Compare that to the wealth of $403,974 for the average adult living in the United States and $144,903 for Europeans. Now, it’s true that the term “average wealth” can be misleading, especially for countries where assets are so skewed toward the ultra-rich, like the United States. But even the median U.S. wealth of $61,667 – that’s the amount where half of people have more and half have less – far outpaces other parts of the globe."

              from https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050615/are-you-top-one-percent-world.asp

              • bart

                In reply to lvthunder:

                So you are saying there is no poverty in the US? OR are you saying that on average the US is doing well, so let's just accept those people in poverty and fend for themselves. Either way, pretty ignorant, no?

              • jimchamplin

                In reply to lvthunder:

                Oh, that's so good to know! So I should never feel bad when I have to go hungry to replace a tire, or choose food vs work clothes. As someone who has to live paycheck to paycheck, and worries about paying the rent each month, I've got one thing to say to your capitalist apologism BS...

                Go to hell.

                • jecouch66

                  In reply to jimchamplin:


                  Capitalism can be described like democracy; it's the worst system except for all the others. I'm willing to give it a second look when we get Star Trek's replicators, or Ray Kurtzweil's robots free us from the need for productivity.

                  I also suspect that Warren breaking up tech giants doesn't change your condition one iota. It might succeed in letting other's join you, which is what typically happens when people with no experience running a business begin dispensing their wisdom. Google, Facebook, and Amazon are not magical entities. They exist because they provide services and products at prices consumers find acceptable. Most of googles consumer products are free, Amazon offers a marketplace with exceedingly competitive prices. These are not problems that need fixing. 

        • Demileto

          In reply to lvthunder:

          I'd argue that crazy was allowing Google to buy Waze. ANY other company - Microsoft, Apple Amazon, Facebook, etc - would've been fine, but letting the maker of Google Maps buy the only other noteworthy map app? Forget crazy, that's just stupid.

          • lvthunder

            In reply to Demileto:

            That's fair, but it should of been stopped then. It's too late now. So the question now is Google harming anyone via it's maps service. Apple was able to create one. And they did it after Google acquired Waze if my memory serves me right. My car uses Here maps. They are fine. Because of technical reasons they only get updated once a year though.

  32. Chris_Kez

    She proposes that companies with more than $25B in revenue that provide an online marketplace, exchange or platform would essentially become "platform utilities".

    • bart

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      So companies actually serving people? Crazy!!! idea ;)

    • bennett_cg

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Hey, if she can get the legal framework defining marketplace platforms as utilities through two chambers of congress and an elliptical office, it's not the worst idea I've ever heard of.

      As someone who has previously worked for a small, niche retailer in the world of hardware and home goods, I've seen first-hand the concentration of power Amazon has engineered. It is all but impossible to set up a viable online store without handing over your margins to an enabling competitor.

  33. RM2016

    Why not have a tax on monopolies? The tax rate is equal to the percentage of market share. It would result in self divestment by the company without the historically arbitrary and political nature of antitrust enforcement.

  34. bobby2626

    I'm not certain I'm subscribing to these e-mails to get political diatribes over tech news, but out of the box thinking about tech monopolies is more than appropriate, and should not be mocked. As far as I'm concerned the Microsft desktop operating system monopoly has never been adequately been addressed, not to mention the dominance of companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The market place does not work correctly when a few companies become so large.

    • William Clark

      In reply to bobby2626:

      Why restrict it to just tech companies? Why not break up the big car companies? Do you know how hard it is for a new car startup to get off the ground? Look at the battle Tesla had just trying to get dealerships in different states. Big Auto fought them tooth and nail and I didn't see Warren saying a damn thing about it.

      And what about the big media outlets? They control everything you see and hear and yet the Dems are quite happy with a media that bashes their opponents at every turn and rarely presents anything close to balanced news.

    • skane2600

      In reply to bobby2626:

      The Microsoft anti-trust case resulted in remedies that were consistent with its fundamental purpose - to benefit MS's competitors. Ironically most of those competitors are now history.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to skane2600:

        Most of MSFT's competitors from the 1980s and 1990s had become nonviable by 2000 when the consent decree kicked in. Lotus Development Corp had already become a soon-to-be-forgotted IBM acquisition, Borland International and WordPerfect were bought by Corel and took another decade to become effectively irrelevant.

        As far as I can tell, programmer's editors is the only software market niche in which some notable names from the 1990s still exist.

  35. Trapp

    "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." The nine most terrifying words in the English language.

  36. waethorn

    So long as companies are able to pay off fines for breaking laws, they'll continue to break laws. Gov'ts should fine them for 95% of their revenues or else put felony charges against CEO's and executives with prison time. Make it entirely infeasible to break laws in the first place.

    I doubt she'll get any ground on this. Why would she anyway? Democrats love these companies!

    If it weren't for Bezos & Google's campaign contributions, and Facebook's new Conservative censorship campaigns, the Dems would be out of business right now.

    • coreyp

      "Gov'ts should fine them for 95% of their revenues or else put felony charges against CEO's and executives with prison time. Make it entirely infeasible to break laws in the first place."

      Also known as government tyranny. Don't like a company or their CEO? Just Elon Musk them and punish them for smoking weed on a livestream or some other stupid law that's selectively enforced and didn't seem to exist until after the "crime" was committed.

      • waethorn

        In reply to CoreyP:

        Smoking weed isn't a felony - cooking your books is. It's an apples to oranges comparison, and you know it. The crime that Musk is guilty of is taking taxpayer money and running a ponzi scheme with it.

  37. codymesh

    This is great. Amazon should have never been allowed to buy Whole Foods. Facebook should have not been allowed to buy Whatsapp. Google should have not been allowed to buy Waze.

    BTW, Amazon also just bought Ring doorbell. Ugh

    While at this, AT&T should not have been allowed to buy HBO as well. Why the F does Comcast even own NBC? Break them up.

    • rmlounsbury

      In reply to codymesh:

      You are right and the regulators had a chance to prevent that from happening and they didn't do anything. Now they want to do it illegally.

      They dug the grave that they are buried in.

    • HellcatM

      In reply to codymesh: I don't see an issue with Amazon buying Whole Foods. Its not like they bought Sprint or an ISP. Facebook buying whatsapp isn't an issue. I do have an issue with AT&T buying HBO. Phone company that branched out to be an ISP that branched out to be a cable company, that now bought HBO to become a cable network. That's an issue. Comcast who started out being an ISP a and now wants to be a TV network..same thing, that I have an issue with. Companies should only be aloud to be one thing, because they put to many hands in the cookie jar and that is dangerous to the economy.

      • codymesh

        In reply to HellcatM:

        Facebook owns all of the popular messaging internet solutions used worldwide. And because of the "network effect", they are not avoidable. There is no "choice" or competition. That is a problem

        • locust infested orchard inc

          In reply to codymesh:

          Telegram is a superior service to WhatsApp, but the layperson is often unaware of it.

          In Asia, people prefer to use their local messaging service; WeChat in China, and LINE in Japan.

          • codymesh

            In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

            Like I said, network effect, so it's not about choice. Even people aware of Telegram can't choose to use it exclusively. This makes Facebook's consolidation even more problematic.

            WeChat is a result of chinese government intervention - i.e, blocking Facebook's products. Not really the same thing.

            LINE in Japan is an exception. Around the world, WhatsApp is mostly the far more popular app, which tends to be the rule

    • trevor_chdwck

      In reply to codymesh:

      Did Amazon force Whole Foods to sell? Nope, are you forced to use Amazon or Whole Foods!? Nope, stop using them if you think they're too powerful. The last thing we should be calling for is government to step in and decide when and where we can spend our money..

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to trevor_chdwck:

        Actually, Adam Smith, the creator of Capitalism, wrote in 1776 in his book The Wealth of Nations that the government's role in Capitalism was to regulate the marketplace to make sure that competition is done on a level field. If a small company with a better product can't compete equally with a large corporation then the Government should step in to remove the advantage of the large corporation so the products compete only on their merits to the consumer.

        That's actually the key difference between Capitalism and other market-based economic systems and the basis for anti-trust law.

      • codymesh

        In reply to trevor_chdwck:

        Government has a right to regulate. If they never intervened, AT&T would also own T-mobile today and Microsoft would have continued dominating everything.

        Of course you can choose to not spend your money on Microsoft but here we are.

    • Michael Sorrentino

      In reply to codymesh:

      Amazon should also never have been allowed to buy Comixology, eComics in a sense, when they already had an effective monopoly on eBooks.

    • William Clark

      In reply to codymesh:

      Why? How does Amazon owning Whole Food threaten Albertson's, Safeway or even my little local IGA store?

  38. wdowell

    And, this America, is how you'll end up with Donald Trump for another term!

  39. luthair

    Instagram as it exists today makes sense, though when purchased less so. To me whatsapp/nest don't seem anti-competitive, they aren't competition to Facebook/Google's dominant business, nor in either case have the companies seemed to use their strength in other markets to gain marketshare.

    The companies that should really be broken up are old guard like Proctor & Gamble, oil companies, and all major telcos.

  40. simont

    Sounds interesting. But it took years to break up AT&T. And now they want to do it to multiple companies at the same time.

    Honestly, it just sounds like she is making sound bites in preparation for Presidential Elections, it would be nice to see but I don't expect it to happen.

  41. ffrances_q1

    Why nobody mentioned Oracle as a monopolist?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to ffrances_q1:

      In part because most large banks and insurance companies use mainframes using something other than Oracle. IOW, Oracle doesn't have a monopolistic position across all types of computers.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to ffrances_q1:

      Because they have actual competition from Microsoft SQL Server and a bunch of other database engines.

      Or are you thinking of a market other than enterprise-level database systems?

      • luthair

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Not sure if it is still the case but Oracle's DB sales were bigger than the next four vendors combined.

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to luthair:

          Not in a long time. Microsoft SQL Server has been a close second to Oracle for years now. Depending on how you measure (Enterprise only or Relational only or all markets and models or only commercial products, or, or, or) you usually find them within 10% of each other and not always with Oracle as #1.

  42. sabarrett

    If she wants to go after tech, I'd rather see investigation in media and network delivery companies, rather than any of those that she referenced. There are multiple sources to search the internet other than google maybe not as good in some ways, but multiple. There are endless places to order goods online other than amazon, maybe some not as fast, but I could use them. I did before. Facebook... don't even get me started. That is in NO way a necessity, and I minimize my use of it any chance I get.

    BUT... I can only use Comcast if I desire any sort of speed, or I can be an outlier with crappy, slow service if I choose ATT. Theres where the real monopoly is. Either there or in health care, both of which politicians are too scared to touch. Let alone that many of those were approved under a Democratic adminstration. And now they want to nullify it? Yeah right...

    • tony_ansley

      In reply to sabarrett:


      I have one "option" for internet...ONE.

      I have one option for electricity...ONE...in a state (Texas) that has supposedly deregulated the energy delivery system. Co-Ops SUCK! Especially when they are corrupt and beyond reach due to gov't lobbying.

      Gov't involvement (meddling?) is the cause of much of our problems in education, healthcare, internet and many other areas. Get lobbyists out of Washington and get America back under control.

  43. ggolcher

    The proper response to the radicalization of the right brought about by Donald Trump is NOT the radicalization of the left. The proper response is cooler heads, respect, and moderation.

    • madpapist

      In reply to ggolcher:

      Are you implying that the left is not already radicalized?

    • bart

      In reply to ggolcher:

      Are you a politician? :P

    • EZAB

      In reply to ggolcher:

      The radicalization of the right is no where near the already radical left! They are over the top!

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to EZAB:

        Breaking up corps is not worse than actual Nazis.

        Trustbusting vs Axis Powers here.

        • AnOldAmigaUser

          In reply to jimchamplin:

          Thank you.

          As an engineer by training, I am naturally conservative, but somewhere along the way, during the last 40 years, I have become a left-wing radical. The problem is that my views haven't changed, the definitions have. Now, if one's views are not somewhere to the right of Hitler, one is now a liberal.

    • Daekar

      In reply to ggolcher:

      I have continually been amazed as I've watched people whose perspectives haven't changed be steadily demonized as radicalized by people whose perspectives have demonstrably shifted an incredible amount in the last 20 years. Look to the Left for radicalization, because the Right hasn't changed. Trust me, I live and work surrounded by them every day, and my memory for philosophical stances is better than average. The opinions and arguments are the same as they were 20 years ago, and if they aren't it's because they have moved left - not because they moved right.

      Most people that think Republicans are scary have never met one, or when they did they didn't realize it because they tend to just let people be what they are most of the time.

  44. darkgrayknight

    Horrible idea, all around. Sure, the companies becoming so big and using their position as top tech companies to push others around is not good, but the government isn't going to make any of it better by trying to break them apart. We need more tech companies to fill in gaps and add disruption of products to cause all these companies to keep innovating.