Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division, has clarified his position on the possibility of breaking up major American tech companies by saying at a WSJ Tech Live summit that such an option is "perfectly on the table". This means that giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others could potentially be forcibly reduced to groups of independent smaller companies.
Delrahim, however, stressed that such a decision would mostly depend on the companies' own conduct.
"Big is not bad. Big behaving badly is bad", the assistant attorney general elaborated.
The Justice Department's Antitrust Division chief also dismissed the idea of "national champions" as "inappropriate", arguing that it's not his job to worry whether China gains an advantage by big tech in the US being broken up.
"There’s no question consumers have benefited from technology. There’s no question we have a lot more conveniences at our disposal. The big question is: Are companies abusing the market power that they have gained", he said.
In May 2019, Facebook and Google heads separately advocated that breaking up their companies could benefit their Chinese rivals. Now former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt told The Telegraph that the expansion of Chinese tech companies as a result of American firms being broken up may result in privacy and data collection issues for US citizens.
Mark Zuckerberg, in turn, stated during a congressional hearing in 2018 that Chinese Internet companies are "a real strategic and competitive threat", apparently appealing to the idea that US big tech, including Facebook, shouldn't be Washington's main point of focus.