Mar.8 (Dow Jones) -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat running for president, on Friday called for the breakup of Inc., Alphabet Inc.s Google and Facebook Inc., a populist stance that could make antitrust in the technology industry an issue in the 2020 campaign.

Todays big tech companies have too much powertoo much power over our economy, our society and our democracy, Ms. Warren said in an online post. Theyve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.

My administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competitionincluding breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google, Ms. Warren said.

The companies didnt immediately respond to requests for comments on the senators proposal.

Ms. Warrens position, like others she has taken, places her on the left wing of the Democratic field and escalates comments she has made in recent years about what she has described as dying competition in the U.S. economy. She has repeatedly criticized U.S. antitrust enforcement as inadequate, under both Democratic and Republican leadership, at the two agencies tasked with protecting competition: the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission..

In 2016, for example, she criticized Obama administration appointees for not doing enough to stop major mergers that increased industry concentration.

The new proposal effectively creates a divide between Ms. Warren and another presidential candidate who has been a leading Democratic voice on antitrust policy: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), the top Democrat on a Senate antitrust subcommittee.

The Minnesota lawmaker has voiced concerns about reduced competition and the need for U.S. enforcers to be more aggressive in pushing back against anticompetitive business conduct and problematic mergers, but she hasnt called for the kind of breakups that Ms. Warren favors.

Ms. Klobuchar has positioned herself as a bridge builder on the issue who is looking to forge bipartisan support for more aggressive government efforts to protect consumers.

Antitrust has to become part of the political discussion, she said this week. Whats really important over decades is whats happening to consumers. We cant just sit back and do nothing.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Ms. Klobuchar indicated that in her view it was premature to call for breaking up big companies. This is what investigations are for, she said when asked her views on unwinding the large firms. She has proposed legislation to boost antitrust enforcement, measures she described as a practical approach to make our laws as sophisticated as the corporate titans that are dominating, and basically squelching competition from coming in.

Ms. Warrens proposal Friday also marked a shot across the bow at another Democratic rival for the 2020 nomination, California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose home-state base includes the powerful Bay Area tech companies.

The Harris campaign didnt immediately respond to a request for comment.

The proposal contained two main parts. First, Ms. Warren called for regulating dominant tech platforms like Google and Facebook as utilities and prohibiting them from both operating the platforms and owning and operating related businesses that run on those platforms.

Her rules would apply to companies with $25 billion or more of global annual revenue. Ms. Warren would require smaller companies with revenue between $90 million and $25 billion to operate in a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory manner, but she wouldnt require them to structurally separate different parts of their businesses.

Secondly, the senator said she would appoint regulators who would unwind illegal and anticompetitive tech mergers that the government has previously blessed.

Deals Ms. Warren targeted for attack included Amazons acquisition of Whole Foods, Facebooks purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram, and several Google acquisitions, including of DoubleClick, an internet advertising services company.

Copyright 2019, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Fecha de publicación: 08/03/2019