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  1. Key Points Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates told CNBC on Wednesday morning he had been naive about the government scrutiny that comes with getting large when he was running Microsoft. “The rules will change somewhat,” Gates said about the possibility of Big Tech antitrust regulation. “I’d say the chances of them doing something is pretty high.” Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates told CNBC Wednesday morning he had been naive about the government scrutiny that comes with getting large when he was running Microsoft and said the chance of Big Tech antitrust regulation is “pretty high.” “Whenever you get to be a super-valuable company, affecting the way people communicate and even political discourse being mediated through your system and higher percentage of commerce — through your system — you’re going to expect a lot of government attention,” Gates said in the “Squawk Box” interview. Last week, the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust released a report concluding that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google hold monopoly power. “I was naive at Microsoft and didn’t realize that our success would lead to government attention,” Gates said, referring to Microsoft’s antitrust challenges from more than 20 years ago. “And so I made some mistakes — you know, just saying, ‘Hey, I never go to Washington, D.C.’ And now I don’t think, you know, that naivete is there.” Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in the middle of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust case, which charged the company had tried to monopolize the web browser market when it bundled Internet Explorer with Windows. The company settled with the DOJ in 2001. Gates’ successor at the time, Steve Ballmer, recommended on CNBC last week that Big Tech companies should go to Washington and proactively engage with regulators, but also said he would “bet money” Congress won’t break them up. “The rules will change somewhat,” Gates said in contrast about the possibility of future regulation. “I’d say the chances of them doing something is pretty high.” “We have to get the particulars,” said Gates when asked about the risk of additional regulation cutting down on innovation. “Is there some rule about acquisition? Is there some rule about splitting parts of the companies, either — to create open availability of those resources?” Anti-competitive “killer acquisitions” was one of the House subcommittee’s concerns, and the report looked into whether Facebook acquired Instagram to eliminate a competitor. Splitting up such acquisitions may be one possibility of future regulation. “We’re in uncharted territory here,” said Gates. Source
  2. New standard aims to improve security and privacy by encrypting internet traffic. Google is reportedly under antitrust scrutiny for its plans to adopt a new DNS encryption protocol. Google's plans to use a new Internet Protocol has raised concerns among congressional antitrust investigators who worry it could give the company an unfair competitive advantage, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Investigators want to know whether Google will use any data collected through the new protocol for commercial purposes. Investigators for the House Judiciary Committee asked Google in a Sept. 13 letter for information about its "decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption" of the protocol, the Journal reported. The new standard, called DNS over TLS, aims to improve internet privacy and security by encrypting traffic, hampering hackers' ability to spoof websites. The company plans to begin testing the new protocol with users of its Chrome browser next month. Privacy is on the front burner these days as consumers come to grips with understanding just how much data companies have gathered from them. Facebook is still dealing with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the UK-based company obtained data on 87 million people without their permission. But the new standard could alter internet competition, with cable and wireless companies being cut off from much of users' valuable DNS surfing data. That would give Google an unfair advantage in user data, companies worry. Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are conducting an antitrust investigation of Google, as well as Apple, Amazon and Facebook, exploring competition in online markets and whether big tech companies are engaging in "anti-competitive conduct." The House probe comes as tech giants faces a flood of scrutiny from government regulators, who've targeted tech companies over potential anti-competitive behavior, privacy breaches and data misuse. Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Source
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