Twenty years after Microsoft waged its own antitrust battle with the U.S. government, former CEO Steve Ballmer is betting that Congress won’t break up Big Tech this time around.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday (below), Ballmer was reacting to a U.S. House antitrust subcommittee report released this week that found challenges presented by the dominance and business practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
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“I’ll bet money that they will not be broken up,” Ballmer told CNBC.
The 450-page report from the subcommittee’s Democratic leaders concludes a 16-month investigation into the four companies as the operators of major online markets. It finds that the market power of the tech giants “has diminished consumer choice, eroded innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy, weakened the vibrancy of the free and diverse press, and undermined Americans’ privacy.”
Ballmer said he doesn’t think the notion of breaking up the companies answers most of the questions or complaints that are being raised against the companies. And he thinks Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple would do well to engage with regulators now rather than take unilateral action that they hope satisfies those calling the shots.
“If I’m in these guys’ shoes, I say, ‘Come on, let’s get down there and let’s regulate me and let’s get it over with so I know what I can do,’” Ballmer told CNBC.
Ballmer is currently the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise and founder of the Bellevue, Wash.-based nonpartisan, not-for-profit civic data initiative USAFacts.
Ballmer also discussed USAFacts’ launch of a $10 million ad campaign, to air during the nationally televised presidential debates, aimed at illustrating