Look, I have all the respect in the world for the private freebooters who run the tech world. I’ve worked with some of them in DC. In fact, you’re probably reading this on a social media platform made possible by their risk and innovation. Bully for them. Their success story is very American.
But there comes a time, like the banks and the firms in 2008 that should have been left to fail, that companies become too big and thus begin a process of overreach and sclerosis. Some, like Facebook, start to amass too much power in very few hands. Yes, government should think long and hard before interfering in the free market in any way. However, given the blithe arrogance of Cook of Apple, Dorsey of Twitter, and Zuckerberg of Facebook when faced with legitimate issues of bias and concentration of power, they have brought the anti-trust nemesis upon themselves.
Break them up.
I know, I know. They are private concerns and so I should just butt out unless I have a stake in the firm. It is a slippery slope, I’m told. Well, we’ve been down that slope since Theodore Roosevelt and the results have not been all tragic. Agreed, hardly a ringing endorsement. However, the breakup of the Bell system —yes many of us remember when there was only one phone company you paid one bill to and that supplied your phones— set the stage for the amazing amount of communications options we have today. Would Ma Bell have brought the same tech advances? Unlikely, as competition makes everyone better.
Interestingly enough, yesterday Apple took a hit in front of the SCOTUS and Brett Kavanaugh voted against them.
That won’t go over well at West Coast hipster boardrooms, for when it comes to genuinely dealing with credible threats to their monopolies the tech boys have been as subtle as Carthaginian pediatric practices.
Given his investment in China, Tim Cook should know the Maoist phrase, “Let a hundred flowers blossom.” By that line in 1957, the canny murderous Chicom honcho was falsely asking for criticism so he could then chop off the heads of the critics.
CEO decapitations may be a remedy a squinch too strong for the tech giants. But a breakup of their bloated empires will undoubtedly do consumers (andin the long run perhaps the leviathans as well) a world of good.