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Friday, November 02, 2018

Break Up The Internet Giants? Is Berners-Lee Right? | Today's Opinions - MediaPost Communications

The World Wide Web creator thinks a breakup may be needed -- perhaps tax and regulations may help?, says Sean Hargrave, MediaPost's London Editor. 

Tim Berners-Lee
Photo: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It has not been a great week to be a tech giant.

At Google staff walked out because of treatment of female workers, and at Apple shares slumped on the news that iPhone sales are not as positive as hoped. Facebook's founder is again being summoned to defend the social network to British MPs, and all companies grossing over GBP500m sales have been told they will be hit with a 2% tax in a year and a half.

Beyond that, there is also the growing threat to the social media networks, in particular that they will be held more accountable for the content that is published on them. Ofcom even told MPs this week that the social giants are expecting stronger regulation -- it is just up to politicians to draw up the necessary laws...

The Guardian article in which Berners-Lee make the point has done some number-crunching. The combined market capitalisations of Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple is around $3.7 trillion. Between them, they generate more revenue than Germany's annual GDP.

With that in mind, it's hard to imagine how the tech giants can be brought to heel. Facebook and Google, in particular, are old hands at buying new promising platforms, such as Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube, to name just three. If you are in their sphere and have a Google-beating idea, guess which will be the first company slamming down a huge pile of cash on the table?

Personally, I'm not a fan of breaking up companies. It just sounds like the state is taking too much power. And how do you break up a global company, anyway?
Read more... 

Additional resources 
Tim Berners-Lee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Source: MediaPost Communications