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OPLIN 4Cast #637: Big Tech: Breaking up is (really) hard to do

Posted in 4cast, and Monopolies

In the past several days, would-be Democratic presidential nominee Elizabeth Warren has been getting a good deal of attention, especially with her plan to break up the big technology monopolies: specifically, Amazon, Google and Facebook. Warren contends that they’ve “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation. “

Most people might be hard-put to argue with her logic, especially after the string of ongoing privacy violations and breaches by at least a couple of these massive companies. It might be time for some governmental intervention, but it’s sure not going to be easy.

  • Elizabeth Warren also wants to break up Apple [TechCrunch] “Specifically, Warren believes Apple should not be able to both run the Apple App Store and distribute apps in it. ‘It’s got to be one or the other,’ Warren told The Verge. ‘Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time.’”
  • Should We Break Up Big Tech? [National Review] “Normally conservatives would unanimously and loudly denounce such an outrageous incursion into the free market, but this time I wonder whether some on the right might at least agree with the diagnosis, if not the cure. “
  • Why We Can’t Break Up with Big Tech [NPR] “‘When I started pulling stats about Amazon, I was shocked,’ she said. The company reportedly controls nearly half of all online commerce. But the company’s most profitable business is Amazon Web Services, or AWS, its cloud-computing arm that hosts apps and websites. ‘They basically control kind of the backbone of Internet infrastructure,’ she said. ‘They’re not just shipping packages out all over America. They’re also shipping a ton of data to people’s computers.'”
  • Big Technology Companies are Modern Monopolies, but Don’t Break Them Up [Barron’s] “By shifting ownership of user data back to the users themselves, as well as by requiring networks be interoperable, market power will be rebalanced. As the temptation to build data monopolies is reduced, corporations and platforms will have to compete harder on the products and services they provide.  “

From the Ohio Web Library: