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Europe's antitrust chief doesn't believe it's time to break up big tech

[2019.11.07, Thu 20:05] "From a competition point of view, you would have to do something where breaking up the company was the only solution to [their] illegal behavior," said Margrethe Vestager, who will be getting an expanded role under the new European Commission. Over the past five years, she has become one of the toughest critics of big tech, leading a crusade that has included the investigation into Apple's Irish tax breaks that found the company had dodged more than $14.5 billion in taxes. Just when big tech thought they were going to move on and maybe get a fresh start, the new European Commission reappointed Vestager to a new five-year term and expanded her portfolio to more broadly include technology policy, in addition to antitrust. Considering she's emerged as a kind of tech giant slayer in recent years, it was somewhat surprising that she wasn't ready to join the chorus of voices calling on these companies to be broken up. In the U.S., presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren have been vocal about the need to break up companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon to put a limit on their power. Still, while Vestager said that while there are clearly big issues, she's not yet convinced that a break up is the right tool to fix them. Despite growing pessimism about the role of technology and the influence of big tech companies, Vestager said she retains hope that these problems can be managed and that regulators can help ensure trust between citizens and the products that are changing their lives.
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