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The Rise of Big Tech Monopolies from Microsoft to Google

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– And the European Union has hit Google with a record fine, equal to five billion dollars The EU says Google violated anti-trust laws

– The incredible success of this industry in the United States, owes a lot to the light hand of government in the technology area – You don't think you have a monopoly? – It certainly doesn't feel like that to me – Ok (Laughter) – The evidence showed overwhelmingly, abundantly that Microsoft abused that monopoly power – In 1998 the United States Department of Justice sued the Microsoft corporation for violating anti-trust laws, and illegally obstructing competition in the software industry

– The concern was that Microsoft took its monopoly in the operating system and leveraged that to take over the browser market – And they did everything humanly possible legal or illegal, to stop Netscape's browser from getting traction, because Netscape's browser had become a partial substitute to the operating system and eventually threatened Microsoft's monopoly – The deposition of Microsoft founder and chairman, Bill Gates, was described as embarrassing and evasive – I don't recall the plan I don't recall specifically

I don't recall exactly, but- No, I don't recall that being discussed No, I don't recall I don't recall I don't recall I honestly don't recall

I don't recall the number But, I don't recall I don't recall knowing in advance – Once the trial started, there was a public airing of exactly what they did, under oath – After two years, Microsoft was found guilty of illegally monopolizing and using its monopoly to impede competition

– Following yesterday's anti-trust ruling against Microsoft by a federal judge, senior company officials held a news conference to talk about the decision – But we did everything we could to settle this case, and we'll continue to look for new opportunities to resolve it We believe we have a strong case on appeal – The court ordered that the Microsoft corporation break into two parts One that produced operating systems, and one that produced software

– What happened then is quite interesting The Republicans came to power, and they negotiated a quick settlement with Microsoft And people like me criticized the settlement as being not sufficient – So the Microsoft case is our last major monopolization case against a tech platform, and that was almost 20 years ago – Web giant Google will pay $1

6 billion to gobble up YouTube – Instagram was snapped up by Facebook for a billion dollars – Facebook has bought the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for nineteen billion dollars – Today, Amazon bought Whole Foods for a price that should qualify for free shipping, 137 billion dollars

– The big picture concern for all of the tech platforms is that they're gatekeepers that are controlling commerce, and then they get to kind of pick the winners and losers of their respective areas If Google decides it wants to enter into a type of search like reviews or travel, video, maps, it can easily just prioritize its own stuff and take over that market Third party sellers have told me that once they see that Amazon is selling the same good that they're selling, they liquidate their inventory They know it's impossible to compete against Amazon on Amazon's own platform – What I wanna see is anti-trust enforcement because it protects markets, because it protects small competitors, because it protects consumers over the long run

– Despite the Microsoft ruling, little to no anti-trust enforcement has been applied to the tech industry – So there's two main problems which is bad case all that makes it hard for the enforcers to win these cases, but also underenforcement And then we have a lot of conservative judges, they really just have the view that we should leave corporations alone The monopoly power translates to political power – My relationship with Silicon Valley and the tech community has historically been really good

– Mhm – Many of these folks are my friends – And the more we have monopolies, the less we're having the will of the people and more we're having the will of these moneyed interests – When people ask me what the most important anti-trust decision of the last quarter century has been, I say Citizens United – This Supreme Court case allows unlimited political spending by corporations as a First Amendment right

– We are well on our way to seeing our great country move toward an oligarchic form of government where virtually all economic and political power rests with a handful of very wealthy families Citizens United is a part of that process, and that is a trend we must reverse – We're at that point now where we've gotten to the new Gilded Age Huge income inequality which just makes complete sense, right? If you have a few corporations that are extracting the wealth of all the other sectors of the economy, all the other players in the economy, of course you're gonna get inequality, right? – But once you stop enforcing the anti-trust laws and once you start letting companies acquire their competitors so that competition and the pressure of market competition goes away, you have what we have now: unfettered corporate power and people, I think, have concluded both Republicans and Democrats have concluded that corporate power isn't working for the American people (chiming)

Source: Youtube

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