For too long, and on too many issues, policymakers have left the governance of technology in the hands of those who design it. Governments face three imperatives in mitigating the digital economy’s negative effects, and they can no longer afford to stand by.
When Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, the chief executives of Apple and Google, were photographed eating dinner together in 2017 at an upscale Vietnamese restaurant called Tamarine, the picture set off a tabloid-worthy frenzy about the relationship between the two most powerful companies in Silicon Valley.
House lawmakers released a scathing report on four of the world’s largest tech companies, accusing them of abusing their market power. The report, which was released on Tuesday and concludes a 16-month investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, recommended breaking up the companies and passing the most sweeping reforms to antitrust laws in decades.
It was as if the Interstate System of highways had been built using volunteer road crews, working without a map. No one present at the 1969 creation of the network that later became the internet imagined that this niche Pentagon project — built as a research tool for a small group of academic computer scientists — would one day become the backbone of the global economy.
House lawmakers who spent the last 16 months investigating the practices of the world’s largest technology companies said on Tuesday that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power and called for the most sweeping changes to antitrust laws in half a century.
For months, complaints from tech companies against Apple’s and Google’s power have grown louder.
Australia’s competition watchdog has launched an inquiry into how Google and Apple run their app stores for Android and iOS devices.
Tim Sweeney, chief executive of Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has railed against tech power. “The market is out of control,” he said.
An interesting news observation. As possible antitrust investigations into four of the biggest tech companies are discussed, this week MarketWatch reported how “some big names in videogaming could speed up things” including Fortnite, which they note “is one of the initial conclusions of legal experts and developers following Epic Games Inc.’s lawsuits against Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google for booting Epic’s hit videogame Fortnite out of their app stores Thursday.”
What’s the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and John D Rockefeller? Exchange the trainers for a pair of spats, and the T-shirt for a frock coat, and the answer is not all that much, according to lawmakers in Washington: a robber baron is a robber baron whether he wears a top hat or a baseball cap.