How Big Tech became such a big target on Capitol Hill
- The five U.S. tech giants are now valued at about $7 trillion, up from $2 trillion five years ago.
- As lawmakers made clear in a report released this week, they view Big Tech as having dangerous monopolistic power that needs to be checked.
- A number of things have taken place in the past decade that turned the Silicon Valley-Seattle corridor into a target for Washington politicians.
After a 16-month investigation into competitive practices at the largest U.S. tech companies, Democratic congressional staffers laid out their findings this week in a 449-page report. They concluded that Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google enjoy monopoly power that needs to be reined in, whether that means breaking the companies up, blocking future acquisitions or forcing them to open their platforms.
Wall Street shrugged at the news. Three of the four stocks rose the day after the report’s release, reflecting investors’ long-held view that regulators and politicians are in no position to squelch Big Tech’s continuing rise and market share expansion.
Still, lawmakers certainly aren’t putting the matter to rest. And with Joe Biden carrying a commanding lead in the polls less than a month before the Nov. 3 election, tech companies face the possibility of Democrats controlling the White House and both branches of Congress in 2021.
Should Democrats win the Senate, it would put Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are among the loudest voices calling for the break up of Big Tech, in the majority.
Here’s what Warren had to say in early 2019:
“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power