Mark Zuckerberg offered to let Chinese premier Xi Jinping name his firstborn (seriously), Apple purged the Chinese App Store of privacy tools at the request of the politburo; Google secretly built a censoring search-engine for use in China, but America's Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm that they will no longer be able to promote America's global dominance if any of the US Big Tech breakup plans are executed.
Which is hilarious, because breaking up monopolies makes industries stronger, not weaker: the breakup of Standard Oil spun off companies like Exxon and Chevron, each as big or bigger than Standard was when it was split up. AT&T's breakup gave us Verizon, Qwest, and a host of other telcos. Monopolies suppress growth by clobbering companies with innovative ideas in order to preserve the status quo.
By contrast, Japan encouraged and nurtured its monopolies, and lost its substantial tech lead to become an also-ran in the global tech marketplace.
Sandberg made her case against breaking up Facebook explicit. In an interview Friday, CNBC asked if Facebook was prepping for a big antitrust battle. In response, Sandberg recounted recent private meetings with Democrats and Republicans in Washington. There, she said, she heard that "while people are concerned with the size and power of tech companies, there's also a concern in the United States with the size and power of Chinese companies, and the realization that these companies are not going to be broken up."
Schmidt was less direct, but conjured the same fears of falling behind China. On Sunday, he told the The Telegraph there is no legal basis to break up tech companies, arguing that "regulatory bias" in the West against Google and other American firms hurts consumers and hands China a competitive advantage on everything from privacy to data collection. "Chinese companies are growing faster, they have higher valuations and they have more users than their non-Chinese counterparts," said Schmidt, who will step down from Alphabet's board in June. "It's very important to understand that there is a global competition around technology innovation and China is a significant player and likely to remain so."
Big Tech: Breaking Us Up Will Only Help China [Nitasha Tiku/Wired]