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Bill Gates (still) doesn't think regulators should break up Big Tech


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He argues that it just creates more companies that behave badly.




Bill Gates is unsurprisingly very familiar with antitrust regulations of large tech companies, so how does he feel about the US government's ongoing competition review? He's not a fan -- though not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The former Microsoft CEO told Bloomberg in an interview that it was better to correct the specific practices than to break the companies up. If you split them, you now have two companies "doing the bad thing," he said. He wasn't completely averse to the concept, but there were a "narrow" set of circumstances where it would work.


Gates also took a mixed approach to taxation. He agreed with tech giants that the current tax system is completely legal, but also felt that politicians should change the rules if they wanted to remove incentives to minimize taxes. He did agree that it was up to society (including government) to ensure that innovation in Big Tech didn't have harmful effects, such as radicalization and highly partisan news.


Others would disagree. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, for instance, has called for the breakup of these companies in part because of their sizes. They use their clout to buy up would-be rivals and otherwise stymie competition, she argued, and the situation won't get better if they're allowed to hold on to all their acquisitions. And Microsoft President Brad Smith might not be calling for an explicit breakup, but he has warned that a lack of strong regulation could threaten the very foundations of democracy. Gates could have a point -- many would argue that the breakup of AT&T led to multiple poorly-behaving carriers. However, the answer might not be as clear cut as either side is arguing.



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