The push to break up Big Tech, explained


Technology companies based in Seattle or Silicon Valley now account for five out of the five most valuable companies in America, leading to a spate of commentary last year from lawyers like Columbia’s Tim Wu to economists like Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff arguing that Big Tech has, in some sense, gotten “too big.” And in 2019, politicians are starting to listen.

At the same time, big technology companies have been brutalizing suppliers and competitors (and, not irrelevantly, publishers of journalism) with a range of questionable tactics — including Amazon’s price wars against competitors, Apple’s high-handed management of its own App Store, and Facebook’s long parade of privacy scandals. As the rich get richer, the criticism has become more intense.

None of the efforts to break up these companies will actually come to fruition – as the article points out, US anti-trust laws are mostly about high prices – but it may bring about additional regulation of the companies, something that must be worrisome to the companies involved.