Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s former chief executive, reportedly said in an interview Wednesday that Congress would certainly not split up the big technology companies, even if the House subcommittee’s report found monopoly power over companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
Mr Ballmer, who led Microsoft through antitrust proceedings in the early 2000s, also gave the companies some advice.
“If it were me, I’d say, come on, let’s look at it, let’s see how we regulate my company, let’s figure it out together, so I know what I can do,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Democratic majority in the House Justice Department’s antitrust subcommittee argued that Congress and law enforcement need to oversee the big four.
“I bet these companies won’t be split,” Ballmer said. “I don’t think Apple is in the same situation as Google or Amazon. Putting these companies together may be good, but that doesn’t mean policies are good. “
When it comes to the antitrust challenges Microsoft faced 20 years ago. “What I’ve learned since the early 2000s as we deal with our own antitrust issues is that what you’re doing may seem to always be 100 percent consistent with the law, but once you’re in a position where some people think you have a monopoly, it becomes very troublesome,” Ballmer said. “
“I would suggest that these technology companies discuss these issues now and with regulators,” Ballmer added. Participation and communication are key. “
While Mr Ballmer said he was willing to “bet” that big technology companies would not be split, he added: “In Microsoft’s case, this does not mean that no one will ask for them to be split until there is a settlement.” In 2001, Microsoft was asked to split into two parts before successfully reconciled with the Justice Department.
“But are you really going to split these companies?” said Ballmer. When I read these reports, I don’t think splitting up these companies would solve most of the problems or complaints people make. “