ANTITRUST

Bill Gates Says No To Big Tech Breakup

Bill Gates Innovation

Bill Gates isn’t in support of breaking up the biggest U.S. tech companies.

That idea was introduced by U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren in March. To create an even playing field, Warren said she wants to make certain firms into “platform utilities,” which would be defined as firms that have worldwide revenues of at least $25 billion. Those are firms that connect third parties or offer an exchange or marketplace. Warren is proposing that these firms would not be able to own platform participants and the utility itself.

In addition, she said she wants to have regulators undo mergers she says are “anti-competitive” like the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon or the purchase of Instagram or WhatsApp by Facebook.

But Gates disagrees.

“You have to really think: Is that the best thing?” he said on Bloomberg TV. “If there’s a way the company’s behaving that you want to get rid of, then you should just say, ‘OK, that’s a banned behavior.’ But splitting the company in two, and having two people doing the bad thing — that doesn’t seem like a solution.”

The founder of Microsoft knows something about the issue: His company avoided a breakup after a federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling ordering the tech giant to be split. Microsoft also battled the Justice Department for years in the late 1990s in an antitrust case.

“It’s a pretty narrow set of things that I think breakup is the right answer to,” Gates said. “These companies are very big, very important companies. So, the fact the governments are thinking about these things, that’s not a surprise.”

He added Microsoft’s own antitrust battles have made the company “more thoughtful about this kind of activity,” and companies, like Google and Amazon, are “behaving totally legally. They’re doing a lot of innovative things.”

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