The big tech elites are not worried about public calls for some old fashioned trust-busting. Calls to smash up the big tech empires are coming from figures like presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren while those of us on the right have repeatedly complained about the arbitrary and uneven rule enforcement from the large social media platforms.
“We don’t spend a lot of time talking about it,” Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services when questioned about the feds forcing his division to break away from its parent company.
You Tube, which recently demonitized conservative pundit Stephen Crowder after complaints were made by a progressive writer at Vox, is also not worried.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said she hasn’t stopped to consider talk that her company should be severed from Google, though she added that should such a move happen, “We would figure it out.”
“There’s definitely more regulation in store for us,” said Wojcicki. But the possibility of breakups, they said, was a remote concern.
But the tech giants are dumping a ton of cash money into Washington D.C. lobbying operations. Perhaps they aren’t worried because they expect to get their money’s worth.
“These companies have every political interest in suggesting this is no big deal,” said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, one of the most prominent advocacy groups pushing for tougher antitrust scrutiny of Silicon Valley. “But the striking thing is that all of them are massively beefing up their lobbying muscle in D.C. The thing to do is to watch what they do and not what they say.”
Last year Google spent $21 million on lobbying and made donations to associations and policy groups.
Politico is skeptical about a possible breakup.
On the other hand, U.S. legal standards present serious obstacles to any attempt to break up companies through antitrust action, and the Justice Department lost a major court fight last year when it tried to stop a merger between AT&T and Time Warner. And deep partisan divides in Congress pose an obstacle to enacting any substantive legislation on any topic before the 2020 election, including antitrust.
The tech honchos are all attending an industry conclave called Code Conference in Arizona with “gift-bag options [that] include a Sonos One speaker, a $100 gift card to the delivery service Postmates and a 23andMe genetic testing kit.”
Regardless of tech’s casual attitude, the Democrat presidential candidates are campaigning on collaring the tech industry. Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have all intimated that tech monopolies are problematic.
“Obviously there’s something going on in terms of monopoly, said Warren.
(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)