Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an aggressive plan on Friday to break up tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook, targeting the power of Silicon Valley with her populist message as sprawling Internet giants face mounting political backlash ahead of the 2020 presidential election. – CNN
The article specifically mentions Google, Amazon, and Facebook, as well as outlining specific ways in which this “breaking up” could occur.
The article mentions, for example, that Google’s search feature could be split off from their ad revenue. This isn’t trust-busting, it’s forced divestment of non-monopolistic albeit interconnected services. Google’s search feature doesn’t inherently make the company very much money. It’s the ad-related search results that make it profitable. Remove that, and what exactly incentivizes Google to maintain their search feature? Well, very little. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or a free service. Using Google’s search feature doesn’t cost money, just your attention.
Alphabet makes money from ads, plain and simple.
Okay, so what about Facebook?
And finally, we have Amazon.
The time has come to accept the fact that our economy is service-based. We produce very little. Tech companies are an enormous part of that economy, and divesting them of their more profitable revenue streams should be a non-starter. It’s orthogonal to the real issue. What we really need is increased protections from these companies’ more insidious practices.
Don’t break up Google, just strengthen and enforce privacy laws.
Don’t split Amazon, just enforce fair-market practices.
The truth is, Senator Warren is targeting these companies because its appealing to a large core of her voting base. But it begs the question, why not Microsoft? Or Apple? Or the telecom companies like Verizon or AT&T? Those companies are much closer to true monopolies than any of these other tech firms. It’s populism at its worst. It scapegoats select entities, proposes destructive orthogonal “solutions”, and ignores the actual, much more dangerous issues that virtually all major tech companies are guilty of.