The race for the US presidential election is already in its infancy, and the Democratic Party is organizing itself to hold one of its most disputed firsts of recent times. Among the top candidates in the race are former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
The latter drew the attention of the tech community today with a proposal that was, at the very least, bold: According to Warren, the big US tech companies like Apple constitute monopolies and need to suffer fragmentations so that they offer favorable conditions of competition to other smaller companies and to each other.
As the senator states:
I want a government that makes sure that everyone at the largest and most powerful US companies plays by following the rules. And I want to make sure that the next generation of big American technology companies can flourish. To do this, we need to stop this generation of technology companies from using their political power to shape the rules in their favor or their economic power to exterminate or buy any potential competitor.
Although Apple is not named by name in the article, which is more focused on the Google / Facebook / Amazon trade, a Warren campaign representative confirmed CNBC that Apple would also be affected by the changes proposed by the candidate.
Basically, the first step in the senator's plan would be to turn app stores (or any "parts" of large companies dealing with third party products) into "utility platforms." These would be prohibited from marketing the company's own products, meaning the App Store could not distribute or sell Apple's own applications and the company would have to choose between maintaining the store or otherwise distributing its apps.
The change would also affect, for example, the Amazon Marketplace (where third-party vendors make their sales in the same environment as Amazon) and Google search (which offers a service of its own while displaying advertisements from other companies and businesses).
In addition, Warren's plan would also revise several “illegal and anti-competitive” foundries and acquisitions, such as Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods supermarket chain, the Google / Waze / Nest / DoubleClick quartet or the three-headed Facebook / WhatsApp monster. /Instagram. According to the senator, unleashing these mergers would promote healthier competitiveness in the market and put more pressure on large technology companies to become more accountable to users' concerns, including privacy.
Obviously, these are only really preliminary proposals: Warren is not even a candidate yet, and even if she eventually comes to the elections, all of this would have to go through the US Congress and be reviewed several times until a consensus is reached among the country's representatives. Still, something to consider.