A tense debate over curbing the power of the biggest companies in high tech broke out at CES 2020 in Las Vegas late Thursday.
Speakers agreed that antitrust laws were not well-suited to handle the challenges posed by high tech, but divided over the merits of sweeping regulation.
As the presidential election looms closer, the argument over the power of large tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, or Google seems to be an ever-present debate – even at the hub of the tech economy, the country’s largest trade show sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association.
Although Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel Charlotte Slaiman said she believed big tech companies need to be broken up because they are too powerful and threaten competition, doing so with antitrust laws will take too long and require protracted litigation.
Instead, Slaiman suggested new regulations focused on dominant digital platforms, and which allows smaller businesses to compete more freely.
Because other companies have to use these platforms to have a voice, Slaiman suggested changes that could foster competition: interoperability with other services who want to join the platform, non-discrimination in preference of services, neutral product promotion, and a sector specific merging review.
Other panelists disagreed. Robert Atkinson, CEO of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said that big was good.
Competition is a legitimate concern, he said, but argued that breaking up big tech is the wrong approach. Digital platform markets are economies of scale, and because of that, big companies are better.
Atkinson said he had seen only seen minor conduct-based grievances again big tech, and because of that, big tech hasn’t broken any antitrust laws.
Zach Graves, head of policy with Lincoln Network, echoed this argument. Customers are happy with the services and dissenters have punitive intentions, he said. Breaking up big tech is low on the list of concerns for the average person, he said.
When the moderator asked what a break up would look like, no one had an answer. Jennifer Huddleston, research fellow at Mercatus Center, could only guess. She said an attempt to break up one of the big tech giants would trigger decades of judicial review over every action.
- Americans’ Trust in Media Declines For Third Consecutive Year, Differs Along Party Lines, Reports Knight Foundation
- Breakfast Media Minute: August 7, 2020
- Federal Communications Commission Sets C-Band Auction Procedures, Reforms Inmate Calling Service Rates
- Ethical Technology Still in Early Stages, But Here to Stay, Say Axios Panelists
- UTOPIA Fiber Announces $13.8 Million Deal With Clearfield, Utah
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Artificial Intelligence1 month ago
U.S. State Department Employing Artificial Intelligence Against COVID-19 Misinformation
Broadband Roundup1 month ago
Artificial Intelligence Task Force, State Cybersecurity, ADTRAN Offers Rural Funding Guidance
Education1 month ago
A Mix of Resources and Technologies Are Needed to Close the Homework Gap
Infrastructure1 month ago
Michigan Broadband Cooperative Calls Report Saying Municipal Broadband Has an Unfair Advantage ‘Laughable’
5G1 month ago
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg Describes 5G-to-the-Home Vision, Claiming U.S. Leads in 5G Deployment
Digital Inclusion1 month ago
‘Disconnection Day’ Looms as a Flouted ‘Keep Americans Connected’ Pledge Expires
Open Access4 weeks ago
In Danville, Virginia, an Early Adopter of Open Access Seeks to Prove the Business Model
Innovation1 month ago
Telecommunication Industry Working Group Aims to End Robocalls Through Cryptographic Credentials