Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department’s growing antitrust division, raised the spectre of breaking up big Silicon Valley names, calling such an action “perfectly on the table.” That is a chilling prospect for the largest companies, which haven’t faced such a threat since the government sought a breakup of Microsoft Corp. two decades ago.
Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live summit, Mr. Delrahim laid out what has to be considered the worst-case scenario for Silicon Valley as the Justice Department’s antitrust review, unveiled over the summer, takes shape. He said the technology revolution has brought improvements for consumers, but that questions remain about potential anticompetitive behavior.
“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,” Mr. Delrahim said.
He summed up his operating philosophy with a quip a few moments later. “Big is not bad,” he said. “Big behaving badly is bad.”
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