In the past few years, some tech companies has gone to huge proportions, most of them many people use every single day. The biggest tech companies are so huge, they make up, as of 2018, up to 68% of US GDP growth, and just the Facebook owned sites, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, made up 26% of all social media internet traffic and 16% of online messaging respectively and nearly all Americans conduct searches on Google-owned platforms, whether it be using Google’s search engine or even or YouTube.
Though antitrust and anti-monopoly laws have existed in the US for over a century, making sure that the market can’t be totally controlled as they were when the laws were created, some are starting to apply those laws to the giants of tech today. In 1998, after Microsoft began offering a free browser with its expanding software bundle, its chief competitor soon collapsed. This sparked the DOJ to file charges alleging monopolistic acts – the result was that Microsoft had to have been split – making two companies, Windows operating system and Office software suite. While some believe the case against Microsoft was decided by the free market, others think that the government’s case paved the way for new companies like Google and Facebook. Antitrust laws empower regulators to stop mergers that reduce competition yet big tech companies have no trouble and little pushback on acquisitions.
A market share of at least 50% is required is needed before the courts can declare a monopoly and the big tech companies are just a hair below that 50% marker. Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google make up an astounding 43% of all internet traffic, Apple owns 41% of all smartphones and 46% on all smartwatches, and Amazon has 49% of all eCommerce sales.
With so much money in so few companies, find out some possible futures of antitrust and breaking up big tech here.