Some thoughts on FTC suing Facebook

A great deal of important and interesting things happened in the technology space in 2020. Certainly yesterdays FTC decision to sue Facebook and seek the breakup of Instagram and WhatsApp is on that list. Maybe top of that list in some ways.

My friend Fred Wilson has an interesting take on how to deal with tech monopolies. He argues for “opening up” instead of “breaking up”. Its a very insightful post for sure.

I really like this approach a lot. In cases where platforms opened up, good things happen for the platform owner and the customer. So many examples, but notably the iOS App store, AppleTV App store and of course our beloved Internet.

Closed platforms and devices just seem to whither or at the very least never seem to get more interesting.

I have written about regulating tech leaders in the past (here and here). And I feel similarly today. There is just too many creative people building great things to assume yesterdays leaders will always stay dominant.

In the consumer space, consider Discord, Tik Tok, Snapchat and even those apps left for the dead like Hangout are roaring back to life. Facebook and Google tried their best to clone these products and yet to no avail. And every week I see new consumer startups with new ideas for new experiences.

While Amazon is has grown massively, Shopify, Etsy, Wayfair and others have built very powerful and important ecommerce companies.

In enterprise, we have massive new entrants like Zoom, Slack, Snowflake as well as countless others while Microsoft and Google try to use their market power to no avail.

I have no idea if the government will be able to win their case against Facebook or Google. It’s not a straight forward legal case by any means. But as someone who has eternal optimism in david vs goliath, I am not counting on it for the innovation in front of us.

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