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U.S. Senator Wants to Break Up Tech Giants

including Amazon, Facebook and Google.

     
5:15 pm on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren, plan aimed at breaking up some of America’s largest tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook and Google.

Ms. Warren’s plan would also force the rollback of some acquisitions by technological giants, the campaign said, including Facebook’s deals for WhatsApp and Instagram, Amazon’s addition of Whole Foods, and Google’s purchase of Waze. Companies would be barred from transferring or sharing users’ data with third parties. Dual entities, such as Amazon Marketplace and AmazonBasics, would be split apart.


[nytimes.com...]

This is a major plan, but only a plan. It'll be very interesting to see if it gets any traction.
5:52 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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so... who pays for this?
Same crowd that pays today?
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6:00 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google is not a monopoly...there is still Bing and Yahoo, but they suck. Amazon created thousands of jobs internally and externally for sellers...seems that would fit right in with Warren's agenda....whatever that is...oh, yes, to tear down all symbols of capitalism.
6:07 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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so... who pays for this?


uh ... Google pays for this of course ... They've certainly demonstrated over the years that they are financially capable. So why not let them put their money where their mouth is.

Let Google compile & distribute the index
-- should read, let Google compile and distribute "it's own index" outside of DoubleClick and it's other properties -- Let Google learn, first hand, what it actually means to compete.

The only thing Google has done since it's inception has been to provide the calculations for indexing according to rank -- Purchasing your competition is "NOT" innovation -- Google has come up woefully short on innovation -- It could never write it's own stuff -- so it was forced to purchase the innovations of others in order so that it could claim it as it's own.

If Google were to be scaled back, the innovation of others would shine, thus giving our young people the opportunity to innovate on their own without the threat of Google (big tech) hanging over their heads.

The same can be said for the likes of Amazon, Facebook, and others. No matter what big tech might tell you, walled gardens have never been the end-all to the internet.
6:21 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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uh ... Google pays for this of course

I see, so we're openly discussing forcing an entity to provide services (labor, resources...) for free. Interesting.
6:29 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Amazon created thousands of jobs internally and externally for sellers.


Really? ... How many of those sellers would be their own success if they were encouraged to do it on their own? How many more jobs would be created outside of Amazon by the literally millions who might do eCommerce on their own? Amazon is not the end-all to eCommerce but yet here we are, with eCommerce quite literally dead and buried right in Amazons own backyard ---

eCommerce was alive and well in 2002 -- What happened? Where did everybody go? Amazon and Google is what happened. These two companies couldn't stand the fact that there were millions of people out there that might make a bit of money without them, so they set about to changing the rules to suit their favour and we've been chasing eCommerce down the rabbit hole ever since.
6:38 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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... so we're openly discussing forcing an entity to provide services (labor, resources...) for free.


Do you pay for your own hosting? Internet connection? Computer? -- How do you pay for it? Do you have a job? Provide a service? Do you compete on the open market for a price? ...
I provide web development services for instance -- My clients aren't "forced" to do my bidding by hosting with us while we run ads on the backs of their hard work -- If Google wants to provide free, open, and honest search index results, then by golly, let them do the work needed in order to provide that outside of the realm of the search index.
7:30 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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so... who pays for this?
I thought that was elementary, not needing any explanation, but here we go:

Like with communication services (landlines, mobile, internet), and energy utilities, infrastructure is built and run by business concerns (utilities) separate from the end service providers, which are assigned with distributing communication and energy services to the end consumers. Usually, multiple service providers distribute the services created by a single utility and in most instances the source utility may run its own service provider subsidiary under same terms available to the rest of the service providers. The infrastructure utility sells its services to the service providers which, in turn, sell to the end consumers.

Under this well tested & efficient model, search index providers will make their income (cost plus profits) by selling their service to the end search-result providers who make search results available to consumers. Their income will be derived from the same channels Google is deriving its income today and new innovative channels developed in future. Competition will take care of this, diversity and quality will improve, more opportunities will arise. Consumers, including businesses small and big, will benefit from competition, much in the same way as in the energy and communications sectors.

Much like with utilities operating today, regulations & supervision will ascertain a level playing field and no cheating.
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[edited by: heisje at 7:41 pm (utc) on Mar 11, 2019]

7:40 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yes, equating search with paid utilities is elementary...
8:13 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not to some, apparently.
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8:27 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not to some, apparently.

Thankfully.

From Wikipedia: In the United States, public utilities are often natural monopolies because the infrastructure required to produce and deliver a product such as electricity or water is very expensive to build and maintain.

This is not true for search. Another significant difference, search is provided without a direct fee to the user, utilities are not. Advocating that an entity provide search for free, without revenue or compensation, is dangerous.
8:39 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Advocating that an entity provide search for free, without revenue or compensation, is dangerous.
Is this what you understood from the detailed explanation above? Then obviously I am not that good at explaining - sorry!
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9:15 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Same crowd that pays today?

That crowd is pretty much Google's ads.
9:23 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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That crowd is pretty much Google's ads.
Correct! Difference is efficiency & competition will end up reducing ad charges and the colossal/abnormal ad profits Google gets today. And yes, this industry will become less profitable, to the benefit of other businesses (including millions of small businesses) and ultimately the consumer - even so will remain robustly profitable I expect.
.
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[edited by: heisje at 9:45 pm (utc) on Mar 11, 2019]

9:28 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Your general overview of how utilities work is not likely to make the detailed explanation hall of fame.
Lets break down the concept:
split indexing from display, so that multiple search providers may use the index to present search results in the most distinct & competitive way they see fit

Where does the "index" come from? google? If so how are they compensated for the labor, resources, and tech that went into creating that index. Who will maintain that index?

Indexing the web is not building power lines. One entity could do it, a million entities could do it... the landscape does not change.

There is very little stopping you, me, or anyone from indexing the web. Try to build a power line from your local power plant to your house. That is why utilities are regulated.
9:30 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Shepherd : Truly sorry, once more, I am not that good at explaining and have given up.
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11:56 pm on Mar 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Whew! I was getting confused. We all (pretty sure) consider recompense for one's labor to be part and parcel.

TANSTAAFL and when g search (which is free) is suggested it really be free, the golden goose just got butchered for ONE meal... because after that there ain't no more goose.

Breaking up Tech is about insuring competition remains possible, that commerce is as broadbased as possible, and that coercion is not included.

As for g, break out yt. Break out their PRODUCTS, and break out their ad biz. More, make sure they are unbiased---but that's a different problem and does not require breaking up any pieces, just enforcing the obvious: they are now an essential service and intend to be the only service if they can get away with it.

Touchy feel good "solutions" that are not rooted in the real world are doomed to fail ... and fail spectacularly.

TANSTAAFL! There is always a cost of doing business.

Aside: kill g and you kill your own web biz ... or hope B and DDG can fill in the blanks.

Let us be real.
12:37 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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here here for the "make sure they are unbiased" tangor. Couldn't agree more.

Facebook just today announced they banned several more conservative channels who have hundreds of thousands of followers. Not for content that broke their rules, mind you, but for simply being "hateful" and their internal definition of "hateful" is "not liberal". So "not left" is hateful? No, that reasoning is the very definition of biased. If Facebook was conservative and they applid that same logic then anything liberal would be "hateful"? Still no.

Break em up, they aren't neutral on the political front when they shouldn't even BE on the political front, especially with how much personal info they gather.

EDIT: FACEBOOK BANNED ELIZABETH WARREN'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ADS - Seems they don't like her either. This banning and shadow banning and blocking by these companies is out of hand. They aren't the morality police. So says the constitution.

The bias is the problem. Granny will log on one day and say "that was a nice speech by the president" and get banned, doxxed and flogged at this rate.
5:59 am on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Here I am only the messenger with no opinion on Google - actually I don't really care.

Google must be broken up due to its 'overwhelming' power, News Corp says
"Media giant tells Australian inquiry Google’s search engine and advertising platform should be separated..."

[theguardian.com ]

Personally I would much rather see News Corpse [sic] itself in Australia broken up into a million pieces of oblivion.
8:57 pm on Mar 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How people here can be confused about what the rights of a business owner (in terms of what they must or must not allow) and what free speech actually is truly mind blowing. None of the above has anything to do with free speech and they can be as bias as they would like.
6:45 pm on Mar 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I cannot forget the time when Google, some years ago, had the nerve of saddling BMW Motors' international site with a manual penalty for . . . spamming! They were nowhere to be found for their own products! Neither BMW and the German industrial elite could forget. Nor the the German press/news industry, similarly treated. They have long memories. Chickens have come home to roost already, in the form of heavy EU fines - but there are many more chickens looking to come home to roost, not so far in the distance.
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2:19 am on Mar 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not belaboring the obvious ... there is a political motive in Warren's "get google" mantra: TREAT OUR PARTY RIGHT and maybe we go light. (Inverse of that is TREAT THE OTHER PARTY UGLY) and maybe we go light.

Reality is Warren's proclamation is a political stunt with no teeth. OTHER than the reality there is enacted law that can be applied with the heart and will is in place. More importantly, other than First Amendment, all sides have no quarrels with Big Tech ... and webmasters (after building the biz ON THEIR BACKS) no longer have any say in how g or a or yt or b or ddg or (insert fave) do their biz.

Gave THAT up long ago chasing dollars from electrons.
8:42 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anti-trust lawyer Gary Reback says Google is a monopoly.

From [cbsnews.com...]

" Steve Kroft: You think Google's a monopoly?

Gary Reback: Oh, yes, of course Google's a monopoly. In fact they're a monopoly in several markets. They're a monopoly in search. They're a monopoly in search advertising.

Gary Reback: Google makes the internet work. The internet would not be accessible to us without a search engine

Steve Kroft: And they control it.

Gary Reback: They control access to it. That's the important part. Google is the gatekeeper for-- for the World Wide Web, for the internet as we know it. "

Google is so dominant in search and search advertising that analysts and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley say it's extremely difficult for startups to get funding if their business model requires them to compete with Google for ad revenue. So yes you can say there are alternatives to search but Google's practices make it practically impossible for a viable alternative to get funding.

Google is breaking federal restraint of trade laws by stating "Link to me and I'll link to you" is prohibited. This is criminal and yet they get away with it.

Most attorneys specializing in common law doctrine law will tell you Google is setting itself up for a class action lawsuit. But they spend so much on lawyers and lobbying it would be a tough win. Google spent more money on lobbying last year than any other corporation, employing 25 different firms and helping fund 300 trade associations, think tanks and other groups many of which influence policy.

Gary Reback: " They have a seat at the table in every discussion that implicates this issue at all. They know about developments that we never even hear about. So their influence – from my perspective is very, very difficult to challenge. "

[edited by: cnvi at 8:45 pm (utc) on Mar 15, 2019]

8:44 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I wish we had good strategies for government to reign in tech companies. Rolling back some acquisitions (from Warren's proposal) isn't a bad idea.

I like the idea that the real problem is the existing regulatory agencies and their unwillingness to do the right thing on a larger scale (likely in some degree because of corruption).

Something should be done, but not EU style, where you just end up breaking the internet (or lining your pockets with token fines) without accomplishing much of value for consumers because the lawmakers have a shallow (at best) understanding of the technology.

Government getting involved in tech is something we should support only carefully.

For example:
split indexing from display, so that multiple search providers may use the index to present search results in the most distinct & competitive way they see fit - and let consumers decide which provider fits them best. Let Google compile & distribute the index, as happens today, but under broad guidelines benefiting consumers.

We're going to force Google to give away their most important product to competitors? What then will be their motivation to create a quality product?

Will those guidelines impact the algorithm? I imagine they'd have to. So they'd need to actually see the algorithm to ensure compliance.

That would be the end of usable search on the internet, sending us straight back to the days of Altavista.

The opaque nature of Google's algorithms may not be ideal from many people's perspectives, but it's absolutely required in order to stop black hat SEO from dominating search results. Guidelines that told them how the algo had to work would be a playbook for shady SEO. Releasing the algo to government agencies for oversight would result in all sorts of absurdity... Leaks would be inevitable, waiting for government to approve changes would hobble innovation and agility.

And now that we have a government agency in charge of search, do the new regulations and guidelines apply to all players? What is search exactly? Should we include all social media within this agencie's purview? Chances are high that would be the case. So now you've got a shiny new gateway into the whole world of tech. It's now more expensive to get involved, little guys with great ideas can't enter on their own, and existing players can't innovate as effectively.

Meanwhile parts of the world without restrictions have an opportunity to move more quickly, making it an economically questionable move.

I say all of this not to single out the poster I'm quoting, but because it's such a perfect example of the slippery slope of government getting involved in tech.

I think the solution lies in coming up with strategies to limit expansion (acquisitions, etc..) and pursue antitrust where applicable, rather than trying to insert legislation and government oversight into the operations of tech companies.

The bottom line is, government sucks at tech: A LOT. Which isn't going to change in the foreseeable future. But it can do a perfectly reasonable job of reigning in oversized companies at the macro level.
10:57 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Bottom line is Section 230 has been abused by the tech giants and have actually become PUBLISHERS in their own right.

THAT is what needs to be addressed and as soon as possible.

There are many moving parts in all this, kiddies. There is an elephant in the room ... and sadly most WEBMASTERS don't know which part to eyeball.

For me it is reverse Section 230 (USA legal code) and hold the tech guys to the same standards we hold MSM (and that's not working all that well, but is way better than what we have with g, etc)

That and ENFORCING the existing laws on PII (personal privacy) ... which have NOT been enforced through 4 different administrations.

NOTE: these are USA comments. The web at large has encountered the EU, China, Middle East, Brazil (South America) and the push back has been kind of tepid (except China which has been an enormous deterrent).
6:23 am on Mar 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I doubt the CIA would allow their Lifelog..er I mean Facebook to be broken up and all connected to it.
5:50 pm on Mar 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I doubt the CIA would allow their Lifelog..er I mean Facebook to be broken up and all connected to it.


Sad to say, but I've thought of this as well -- It's okay for Big Gov to tap into what Big Tech has built even though it's illegal for Big Gov to own their own from a constitutional standpoint --
When you stop and consider just how anti-U.S. some of our elected leaders are, the concept of taking Google and Facebook away from the government makes sense ... When you take the eyes and the ears away from a government, it makes it much easier to thwart that government's ability to detect nefarious activities.

Mrs Warren is just anti-government (in it's current state) enough to float such an idea - given that the concept presented above is true.
2:34 pm on Mar 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Wouldnt splitting these big companies only create more loopholes? It would basically allow them sell data to.. theirwelves. Update our terms and conditions and we are going to sell them for 50$ an email... to ourselves
11:54 am on May 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately for Warren and her supporters, big companies are the hallmark of a healthy capitalist economy and society. Killing them off is tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face. In the end, nobody wins.
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