A candidate in the 2020 US presidential election has a plan to demolish the digital giants. Funny you think? This is not a joke to him.
Here’s a candidate that the Internet giants better watch out. And they will probably think twice about it before participating in the financing of her campaign, because Elizabeth Warren is proposing nothing less than to dismantle some of the most prominent American digital companies, starting with those called GAFAs: Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
The Democratic candidate does not mention only Apple.
The situation is dangerous in Elizabeth Warren’s eyes. She estimates that nearly half of e-commerce goes through Amazon. As far as Internet traffic is concerned, 70% go through sites owned or operated by Google and Facebook. Therefore, there is a need for “significant structural changes in the technology sector to promote more competition.”
Her plan, if she accesses the White House, has two phases.
First, a law should be passed requiring these technology platforms to be designated as public utility platforms. Besides, they should not be allowed to have any participation in other companies benefiting from this platform. It is a question of preventing them from being both judge (control of the platform) and party (ownership of all or some of the firms on it).
After, For Facebook, it would mean removing WhatsApp instant messaging and Instagram photo-sharing service. Google would be deprived of the community GPS navigation tool Waze, the advertising network DoubleClick and Nest, whose specialty is connected objects. Amazon would be denied of the organic brand Whole Foods and the shoe seller Zappos.
This list is not exhaustive: it could be extended, either at the level of the companies concerned or at the level of subsidiaries that could be separated from their parent company.
An idea that hovers in Europe
The proposal of the Democratic candidate, who is a law professor at Harvard, is not entirely new. In any case in Europe, the idea of dismantling the Internet giants – at least Google – has existed at least since 2010. The Mountain View firm is in a particular position because it is both judge (the search engine) and party (service provider).
Last year, Margreth Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, even mentioned the dismantling of Google if the Mountain View firm fails to comply with the rules of the Old Continent. So far, Brussels has imposed two huge fines on Google, one of €2.4 billion and the other of €4.34 billion for abuses of dominant position.
All that is left is to win the 2020 election
Now on the table, it remains to be seen what the fate of this campaign promise will be. It is not sure whether she will win the 2020 US presidential election or not, as Elizabeth Warren will have to emerge victorious from the Democratic Party primaries first and foremost. Primary schools that look difficult, given the number of candidates in the running – there are currently about fifteen names.