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    • but her stance here feels naïve,

      I agree--it feels like she's fighting the last war, not the one we need to be fighting. Still, I think it's a good thing that she has raised the issue and hope that something constructive comes of it.

    • Anti-trust laws are all written to remedy the situation where a company with dominant market position uses it to gouge the consumers. Google most definitely doesn't do this (search is free, Android is free). Amazon uses its position to drive the prices down. Intervening here would probably have the effect of actually driving the prices up or shutting down of free services. That probably would not play well with the public.

      I'm not entirely convinced that break-up is the desired solution to advance competition. Nokia was massively dominant, but still fell with no government intervention. Microsoft used to rule the desktop and browser markets. Got disrupted organically. IBM before them.

      Where I see the need for adjustment is the tendency of tech giants to just buy up and absorb potential competitors. And even there, with very careful and deliberated intervention.

    • Microsoft used to rule the desktop and browser markets. Got disrupted organically. IBM before them.

      Both Microsoft and IBM were subject to major antitrust actions in the US and EU and were forced to change their business practices as a result. Not sure what you mean by 'organically.'

      As for Google, the EU has fined them billions over Android, Google Shopping and Ad-Sense antitrust violations, though some of those judgments are still under appeal.

    • IBM faltered because of the rise of PC clones, enabled by Microsoft (Windows) and Intel (x86 CPUs). Microsoft missed the boat on mobile. Both of them got disrupted because their 'impenetrable castles' (mainframes and Windows, respectively) got obsoleted by newer tech. Neither outcome had anything to do with anti-trust actions by the government.

    • Cheers, @jpop, good write up. Seems to me that using traditional antitrust thinking largely overlooks the dangers that Amazon, FB and Google pose to personal autonomy and privacy, which concern me more than their impact on, say, Internet startup formation. That's not to dismiss the old concerns about size and market control or other abuses, but rather to emphasize that we're dealing with new threats as well, and these seem more ominous.

    • Indeed. But the thing to keep in mind here is that none of them are invincible. As noted in the article, tech giants get their influence by users voluntarily flocking to them. And if users start feeling the privacy trade-offs are not worth it any more, they might flee. Which is probably the prime motivation behind the Zuck's "'whoa, privacy is good, we will definitely do the privacy thing" statement made the other day. They live and die by their users' satisfaction. We do have the power to influence their behaviour.

    • I think he makes an interesting point. If it’s an accurate reflection of public sentiment, it may make sense for Google and Facebook to get ahead of the story and implement realistic solutions. Otherwise Warren’s proposal may end up the lite version of what’s ultimately implemented by Congress in 2021.