Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Friday that if elected U.S. president she would seek to break up Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc as part of a structural change to the tech sector aimed at promoting competition.
Warren, who is seeking to stand out in a Democratic field crowded with progressives vying to take on U.S. President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, said in a blog post that on their way to the top, the companies purchased potential competitors, like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.
“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,” Warren wrote.
Amazon shares were down 0.8 percent while Facebook was down 0.2 percent while Alphabet slipped 0.1 percent in morning trade on Friday.
Warren said that she would nominate regulators who would unwind acquisitions such as Facebook’s deals for WhatsApp and Instagram, Amazon’s deals for Whole Foods and Zappos, and Google’s purchases of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick.
Amazon and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook declined to comment.
NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group whose members include Facebook and other online companies, said Warren’s plan would lead to higher prices for Americans.
“Sen. Warren is wrong in her assertion that tech markets lack competition. Never before have consumers and workers had more access to goods, services, and opportunities online,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a think tank that promotes free markets, called Warren’s plan a “doomed regulatory experiment.”
“The next wave of technological innovations will likely require enormous economies of scale to serve consumers. In the meantime, there are no barriers to entry for the next killer app or sector-disrupting entrepreneur,” said Jessica Melugin, the CEI’s associate director for technology and innovation.
The liberal activist group Demand Progress has previously called for the U.S. government to break up Facebook by forcing it to sell Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Tech companies are some of the biggest political donors. Google spent $21 million to lobby in 2018 while Amazon spent $14.2 million and Facebook spent $12.62 million, according to their filings to U.S. Congress.
Warren made her political mark by going after big banks after the 2007-2009 financial crisis. In the Senate, Warren continues to be an outspoken critic of Wall Street and is a leader of her party’s progressive wing.
Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Meredith Mazzilli
Wells Fargo has already hit stimulus cap as small businesses worry loans are running out: report
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Wells Fargo, one of the nation's largest banks, is already cutting off new applications for the government's small-business stimulus relief program.
"Wells Fargo didn’t begin taking applications until Saturday and by Monday morning said it reached the $10 billion cap it had set for loans under the program," wrote Renae Merle. "Small businesses, which employ nearly half of the United States’ private-sector workers, say they are facing long waits and rejection as they scramble to secure loans through the fund, known as the Paycheck Protection Program. Many banks are accepting applications only from existing customers or businesses of a certain size."
Dominic Raab: Boris Johnson’s de facto deputy
When Boris Johnson announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, Downing Street said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would deputise if the British prime minister was incapacitated.
Few expected him to do so, as Johnson and his office repeatedly maintained the prime minister's symptoms were mild.
But after Johnson was taken to hospital on Sunday night, and transferred to intensive care just 24 hours later, Raab now looks set to be in charge for the foreseeable future.
Raab was one of the most prominent figures in Britain's protracted and divisive process to leave the European Union, serving as Brexit minister under former premier Theresa May.
Trump calls Joe Biden to discuss how to manage coronavirus pandemic: report
On Monday, NBC News' Mike Memoli reported that President Donald Trump called former Vice President Joe Biden — his likely general election rival in November — to discuss how to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) April 6, 2020