“I hardly see any abuse at the big tech companies. Yes, it is important that privacy rules are applied, but they must apply to all companies. ” Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said today at CES 2021.
Atkinson, along with Rachel Bovard of the Policy-Conservative Partnership Institute, was interviewed during the session Is Big Really Bad? What to do about Big Tech? He also wrote a book on the subject Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business.
A multitude of cases will be scrutinized by regulators in the coming year, both in the US and in Europe. Numerous investigations and charges are ongoing. The consensus is that companies have become too powerful. There is already talk of breaking up Facebook or Apple.
But Atkinson warns that antitrust measures can actually harm tech companies. “The five largest American tech companies are investing more in R&D than the whole of the United Kingdom. They also bring a lot of good. We have also seen in the past that antitrust measures do not always work out well and that, for example, intellectual property has to be sold to the Japanese. The US has always thought big. There is only great resistance, especially from the left hook. The large tech companies are an easy target. ”
An important argument of the opponents of Big Tech is that new competitors hardly have the space to develop, because small startups are quickly bought up.
But Atkinson points out that in the 1930s there were so-called ‘killer acquisitions’ in the auto industry. “The tech market has matured, should there still be a social network as an alternative to Facebook? Take WhatsApp. The purchase has only benefited consumers. The app is now not only free to use, but has also become much better than when it was not yet from Facebook. ”
Rachel Bovard of the Policy-Conservative Partnership Institute stressed that it is not the first time that Big Tech has been critically examined. The FTC under Obama already vetted Google years ago, but decided not to tackle the company then. “Big is not bad, but a healthy dose of skepticism towards these companies is certainly not bad.”
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