What Breaking Up Big Tech Would Look Like

What Breaking Up Big Tech Would Look Like

Some have described it as simply frightening. Imagine waking up, and there is no Google, Facebook, Amazon, or Apple. Breaking up Big Tech, especially when so many people rely on it globally, would prove to be disastrous.

Still, the idea of breaking up the monopoly currently enjoyed by leading tech giants has recently gained momentum. In recent days, the subject has become a significant issue, triggering burning public debate. It has even swirled into the US presidential campaigns, with Senator Elizabeth Warren once promising to break up the world-ruling tech giants if she ever made it into the White House. Moreover, President Donald Trump recently made disparaging remarks about the tech giants, even calling for the “prosecution” of Facebook and Google.

Colin Pape, who owns Presearch, a competing search engine, recently added that somebody must face the Big Four and tell them that their all-controlling attitude no longer amuses the world.

According to Pape, the largest tech companies have used monopolizing tendencies to eat up competitors. He cites Facebook acquiring Instagram when it started threatening the social media platform and Google, which similarly acquired YouTube for billions of dollars back in 2006 when the latter’s popularity soared.

So what would happen if new policies broke up Big Tech?

Tech Giants Besieged, But What Consequences Will Follow?

If Big Tech broke up, there would be dire consequences that would shake the Silicon Valley, soaking up an explosive impact with huge ramifications. Of course, it would hit consumers hard, as well. Almost everyone today uses phones, tools, and apps designed by leading tech companies. We use these to purchase products, connect, entertain, and to search for information. If these services were ever separated or broken up, it would completely change the game.

Tech Breakup Would Leave Users with “a Stranger Google” than They Know

Pape points to popular Google products used by millions in this what-if scenario. These include Google Chrome, Google Drive, Google Docs, and YouTube. He claims Google uses unfair strategies to ensure it chains users to what he calls the “Google Universe.” He states that if these segments of the tech giant broke up, it would create a fair playing field for competing search engines.

The entrepreneur suggests that to promote fair competition, the government should act to separate Google’s search engine, the index, and other properties. He says that internet search engines should, ideally, be community-controlled ventures, because such devices have “massive economic and societal value.” Thus, users would enjoy more enormous benefits if developers created non-profit search engines.

Essentially, tech breakup would turn the internet experience into a strange version of Google without standard features like Chrome and Google Drive add-ons.

This is What Breaking up Facebook Would Mean to Users

Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. If a breakup were to happen, Facebook would have to surrender both Instagram and WhatsApp to new owners. Therefore, users would have to deal with new algorithms and policies introduced by the new teams behind the two popular apps.

According to Michael Overing, an adjunct communications professor and attorney, if such a breakup occurred, it might take some time for consumers to experience the full impact. The analyst says that users may not immediately realize what has happened until they discover that they can no longer access several standard features. Moreover, they may only realize the impact when asked to pay for services that were previously free.

Furthermore, Facebook users would face new privacy and antitrust law issues.

Breaking up Amazon Would Mark the End of Crazy Offers and the Buying Spree

Think about the vastness of Amazon. This is the company that owns a popular video streaming service, the cloud computing Amazon Web Services, music streaming services, and Whole Foods. An entire grocery store chain! Jeff Bezos might as well own the entire world; in fact, he has enough money to buy some countries on this planet, literally. Amazon’s global reach is both impressive and frightening.

So what happens if Amazon suddenly brakes up?

Amazon would revert to its former role as a leading marketplace and lose the license to sell its products on the same marketplace. Moreover, Amazon would have to give up its ownership of its secondary services and let some other company run them.

The effect on Amazon marketplace consumers would be devastating. Users would have to deal with higher prices for goods and services, and the company Amazon could no longer afford to give massive discounts on purchases. Amazon-based products, like the Ring Security System, would also see a skyrocket in price.

Breaking up Google Would Weaken the Search Engine, Leaving Users Worse Off

Karen Kovacs North, who is a Digital Social Media professor at the Annenberg School for Journalism and Communication, gives us further insight into what might happen should the tech giants break up.

She says that such an action could have worse consequences for the internet. She cautions that policymakers should consider the crucial investment that Google, for instance, has put into internet search engine services. The scholar also notes that, in their daily lives, people don’t think of Google as a mere business. Instead, they automatically consider it the go-to place to find information. In other words, we take Google as a constant — as lasting as the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and as trustworthy as the sun rising.

If anyone split Google from its search engine services, it would mean a considerably weakened search engine.

The Verdict

Would it be beneficial or damaging to break up the leading tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon? While some politicians and bureaucrats think that the time is right to break up what they consider a dominating, muzzling, and conspiratorial monopoly that crushes competitors, other experts and analysts have a different view. No doubt, Google and Facebook, which are massively popular with billions of users, have created a powerful influence on the lives of people.

The jury is out on whether the interests of big business, political jostling, or public welfare will triumph when the debate finally ends. But we do know one thing that no one would argue against: any change to Big Tech will hit consumers and hit us hard.