Daily Post 1403


The Antitrust hearing with CEOs from Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple will go down in the annals of capitalism as the first concerted effort by the US Congress to rein in the IT behemoths, who have running what co-jointly can be called the creative global monopolies. The antitrust cases against Microsoft have still not become history and coming out as winner in those cases was the single biggest achievement of Bill Gates since the founding of Microsoft. It has been two decades since that case was decided on June 28th, 2001. The issue was Microsoft’s monopoly position in the PC market through legal and technical restrictions put by them on other PC manufacturers.

From PC to Data has been the exponential fairy tale story of digital technology finally engulfing us all, in the worst pandemic known to humans. The irony of the Congressional hearing is, that it is happening at a time when these top IT technology companies have been able to somehow ameliorate the existential crisis in which, we are in. The crisis delivery of ration by Amazon to each one of us becoming a pupil in the What’sApp university, from the Google Search to Google Meet, life without these utilities, we can’t even imagine of. Undeniably, they have given us the world, and undeniably too they have earned billions and trillions of dollars and a nature of power, which even best of the nations, can only envy.

Monopoly as its very best can be understatement to describe the power they wield. The Facebook – Cambridge Saga is not all the old. They have a hand in every single pie. Between them there would not be even a single person on earth un-impacted. Their real inner wheeling dealing remains outside the realm of Governments and regulatory agencies. Who would understand even one of these companies in totality and come up with a confident status report, explaining the interplay of innovation, business, technology, data, competition or the lack of it and the law. It took one year for these Congressmen after putting in painstaking work, to come up with the arguments they did. These companies cannot defy the business models, they have been built on.

The tech CEO’s did the best they could and additionally appealed to American patriotism. There seemed to be no clear winners, but the remarks of Chairman Cicilline has been disparaging. He closed the hearing by comparing the four CEOs to historical monopolists like John Rockfeller and Andrew Carnegie. He is also of the opinion that some these companies should be broken up. “This hearing has made one fact clear to me – these companies as they exist today have monopoly power,” Cicilline said. “Some need to be broken up. All need to be properly regulated and held accountable..” “Their control of the marketplace allows them to do whatever it takes to crush independent business and expand their own power,” Cicilline said. “This must end.”


Sanjay Sahay

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