WASHINGTON—In response to the call from the Warren for President campaign to break up “big tech,” the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF President Rob Atkinson, co-author of the book Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business:
The Warren campaign’s call to breakup big tech companies reflects a “big is bad, small is beautiful” ideology run amok. The proposal ignores the fact that many of the services big tech companies now provide free used to cost consumers money. Breaking up large Internet companies just because they are large won’t help consumers. It will hurt them by reducing convenience, reducing quality of service and innovation, and in some cases leading to the introduction of priced services. Consumers now benefit greatly from having one Amazon, one Google, and one Facebook. The goal of competition policy should be to enhance consumer welfare, not penalize companies for earning market share and operating at scale—yet that is exactly what the Warren proposal would do.
To the extent that Senator Warren is concerned about important issues like privacy, political power, or Russian interference, the answer is not to break up tech companies but to pass a national privacy framework, campaign finance reform legislation, and laws regarding political ads.
For background on policies that would advance consumer welfare, see ITIF’s recent report: Why the Consumer Welfare Standard Should Remain the Bedrock of Antitrust Policy.