The Obama-Biden administration was a charming era for America’s tech companies — a moment when they were lionized as innovators, hailed as job creators and largely left alone. Now Joe Biden is coming back, this time as president. But times have changed. The halcyon days of an adoring Washington are unlikely to return when Biden takes the oath of office in January, with mounting legislative and regulatory challenges to the industry — including stronger enforcement of antitrust laws — nearly certain to outlast the tenure of President Donald Trump.
Many Americans agree and support the break of the big tech companies as they are worried about the volume of personal data the tech giants possess and the amount of control they have on their lives.
Facebook has 2.4 billion active monthly users. Amazon accounts for nearly 40 per cent of all e-commerce spending in America. Google gets more than 92 per cent of global search engine inquiries. Apple became the first company to cross the $1 trillion mark in market capitalization—a market cap larger than the GDP of Saudi Arabia.
The first antitrust movement came about early in the last century when President Theodore Roosevelt passed legislation that broke up monopolies in railway, steel, oil and meat packing-to name a few. Now one of America’s leading business experts predicts we are headed for another round of anti-trust legislation aimed at tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon.
Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business told Smerconish Saturday that prior to the pandemic it took 20 years for e-commerce to reach 18 per cent of shopping, now it is 28 per cent, meaning the pandemic brought about a decade of growth in the sector in just a few months. He said Amazon took 25 years to reach the 500,000-employee mark and this year added another 500,000 in twelve months.
Apple took 40 years to reach one trillion dollars in capitalization—it added its second trillion in 22 weeks. He noted that Amazon now has reached 82 per cent of American households, either through online purchases or its streaming service. He predicts Amazon will move into healthcare and become the biggest player in that sector in 2 to 3 years, and in doing so may actually bring down the cost of health care.
Galloway predicts the anti-trust movement will first hit Google and Facebook before it attacks Amazon and by that time, he predicts Amazon will have broken itself up; AND the most valuable company by 2025 will be one of Amazon’s spinoffs.
“The tech lash is in full force,” said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University and co-director of its High Tech Law Institute. In the years since Barack Obama and Biden left the White House, the tech industry’s political fortunes have flipped. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have come under scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators, state attorneys general and European authorities. Twitter has found itself in frequent run-ins with lawmakers over its policies for moderating content on its platform. And companies have seen their political support in Congress erode.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle champion stronger oversight of the industry, arguing its massive market power is out of control, crushing smaller competitors and endangering consumers’ privacy. They say the companies hide behind a legal shield to allow false information to flourish on their social media networks or to entrench bias. In steps Biden, who may aim to take a bite out of the dominance of Big Tech and may welcome an opportunity to work with the opposing side to curb the power of a common adversary.