On Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, outlined a sweeping proposal to break up and regulate the largest tech companies.
Warren’s plan specifically examined Facebook, Amazon, and Google, and asks them to eliminate marketplaces that limit competition and undo mega-mergers like Google’s DoubleClick and Facebook’s Instagram. She also said that new regulations wouldn’t allow tech companies to share data with third parties.
“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote in a Medium post. “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.”
While not mentioned in her proposal, the senator added Apple to the list of companies that she would like to have broken up.
In an interview with The Verge published Saturday, Warren said that Apple’s business has the same problems as Amazon, Facebook, and Google: Apple runs its App Store and sells its own apps in it.
“Either they run the platform or they play in the store,” she told The Verge. “They don’t get to do both at the same time.”
Apple has two competitive advantages with its control of the App Store that gives the company “an enormous comparative advantage,” she said: Data and preferential treatment for its own products.
“One, you’ve sucked up information about every buyer and every seller before you’ve made a decision about what you’re going to sell,” she said. “And second, you have the capacity — because you run the platform — to prefer your product over anyone else’s product. It gives an enormous comparative advantage to the platform.”
In addition to tech companies, Warren said that she also believes that Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal should be broken up. “I’m already there. I’m clearly on record on it,” she told The Verge.
This isn’t the first time that Warren has zeroed in on Apple.
In 2016, the Massachusetts senator said that Apple should pay more taxes after the European Union ordered Apple to pay Ireland back more than $14 million in taxes after the tech company was paying a tax rate of 1 percent or lower.
“Now that they are feeling the sting from foreign tax crackdowns, giant corporations and their Washington lobbyists are pressing Congress to cut them a new sweetheart deal here at home,” Warren wrote at the time. “Giant corporations are pushing corporate tax reform proposals that offer a lower permanent tax rate for earnings generated abroad than earnings generated at home. That is nuts.”
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