Don’t Expect Joe Biden to Embrace Big Tech Like Barack Obama Did

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    While Trump has stoked discontent over social media, he’s done little to stem the economic power of the biggest tech companies. The combined market value of, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft has roughly tripled from the $2.3 trillion they were worth on Election Day 2016. Those five companies now represent close to one-quarter of the total value of the S&P 500, about twice their share back then. For almost two years, the Democrats steering the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel have been laying the groundwork for the first overhaul of U.S. antitrust law in decades, with Big Tech as the main target. “If there’s one thing Congress should be doing—and Congress could do it even under divided government—it’s to fix antitrust law so it’s not completely meaningless,” says Sohn. This could mean breaking up companies deemed anti-competitive through such means as severing Instagram from Facebook or requiring Apple and Amazon to stop competing with the independent businesses that rely on their digital and physical delivery networks. Democrats could also pick up efforts to create a federal data privacy law. The chances of a maximally aggressive approach dimmed when Democrats didn’t handily win control of the Senate, as some had expected. The news was enough to send tech stocks soaring on Wednesday, even though control of the White House was still up in the air. Still, the energy for change lies with Democrats who are worried about the concentration of economic power. “Both on the merits and the politics, our perspective is ascendant,” says Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, a group pushing for more aggressive antitrust laws and enforcement. This is a striking change from the Obama years, when Democrats lauded Silicon Valley as a key driver of innovation and sought to reshape government and other aspects of the economy in its image. A string of senior administration officials left to work for Big Tech, and in a 2016 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Obama hinted that his post-presidency might include trying his hand as a venture capitalist. The trend seemed set to continue into a Hillary Clinton administration, whose proposed tech policy agenda focused on industry-friendly issues including patent reform and net neutrality. It was common at the time to marvel at software’s ability to change the world for the better, according to Ari Wallach, a futurist who was part of Clinton’s disruptive economy working group. “In 2016 it was ‘Let’s algorithm-ize everything,’ ” he says. The 2016 presidential election saw a new antipathy toward the tech giants begin to crystallize among the liberal political class, as it highlighted how much power social media companies had over political discourse and just how big a few Silicon Valley companies had become. Today, many Democratic politicians see the term “algorithm” as a dirty word, associated with racially biased predictive policing and engagement-obsessed news feeds. Biden doesn’t even have a disruptive economy working group. In part, the next president will pick up work on antitrust begun in the Trump administration. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Google in the biggest antitrust suit since the government went after Microsoft Corp. two decades ago. It’s very likely a sign of more to come. So far, the DOJ has aimed narrowly, at deals Google has signed with other companies to make its search engine the default in their web browsers and smartphones. Biden’s DOJ could decide to broaden the case, work with state attorneys general to bring parallel suits, or both. The incoming administration also needs a new chair of the Federal Trade Commission, which has been investigating tech industry mergers and could soon announce a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. Of late, the FTC has been hamstrung by lack of staffing and a reputation for timidity. That could change if Biden dedicates more resources to the agency and appoints someone like Rohit Chopra, one of the FTC’s commissioners with a background in consumer protection, to the top spot. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Bloomberg Quicktake brings you live global news and original shows spanning business, technology, politics and culture. Make sense of the stories changing your business and your world. To watch complete coverage on Bloomberg Quicktake 24/7, visit, or watch on Apple TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Fire TV and Android TV on the Bloomberg app. Connect with us on… YouTube: Breaking News on YouTube: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram:

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    In This Story: Barack Obama

    Barack Obama is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the United States. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008 and an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.

    Obama left office in January 2017 and continues to reside in Washington, D.C.

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    “Democrats” usually refers to the The Democratic Party of the United States – one of the two major political parties in the country, along with its main, historic rival, the Republican Party.

    It was founded on 8th January 1828 and has its contemporary headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States. The present leadership is Nancy Pelosi (Party leader) and Jaime Harrison (Party chair).

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    Joe Biden is an American politician serving as the 46th and current president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama and represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009.

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