In an interview with Bloomberg Technology, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the richest men on earth, vocally opposed the idea of the federal government breaking up Big Tech companies on antitrust grounds.
“I don’t know the last time a company was broken up,” Gates said. “It’s a – I think – quite a long time ago, and you have to really think is that, uh, the best thing?”
“If there’s a way the company’s behaving that you want to get rid of, then you should just say ‘hey, yeah, okay that’s a banned behavior,’” he continued. “Splitting the company in two and having two people doing the bad thing, uh, that doesn’t seem like a solution. So it’s a pretty narrow set of things that I think break up is the right answer to. You know these companies are very big, very important companies. So the fact that governments are, uh, thinking about these things, that’s not a surprise.”
Gates said that he was naive when he founded Microsoft, and didn’t expect that as the company grew, it would come under such scrutiny from the government.
Perhaps tellingly, Gates rejected the notion that Big Tech companies are undermining political and economic institutions.
“I think these companies are behaving totally legally, uh they’re doing a lot of innovative things,” he said. “The fact that the tax rules incent [sic] you to structure in a certain way to minimize your taxes, people should look if they want to change that going forward. That’s a real question.”
He also willingly offered up his thoughts on social media companies.
“Social media – nobody had a crystal ball [to see] that in some ways that would be a way to sort of radicalizing people or splitting them into different groups,” he said. “What exactly the solution to that should be – to have reading more of a common front page – not being pulled to extremes, uh, you know, I don’t think you can rely completely on the tech industry to worry about that enough, [to] come up with the solutions. I really think government needs to talk about what those rules should be.”
In other words, Gates doesn’t care that Big Tech is essentially a monopoly that has the power to dictate acceptable thought. In fact, he seems to be supportive of that idea that the government should involve itself in Big Tech only to the extent to which is can tell Americans what to think. By advocating for what he describes as a “common front page,” Gates seems to want us all to receive the same information from some agreed upon source – and he wants that source to be agreed upon by the federal government.
That, of course, would be a recipe for disaster and antithetical to the idea of free thought.
Gates sat down for the interview just days after the House Judiciary Committee announced that it would move forward with an antitrust probe of Silicon Valley titans to determine whether they are engaged in anti-competitive behavior.
WATCH the interview here: