Margrethe Vestager

Over the last decade EU antitrust regulators have increasingly thought tech giants are becoming too big for their boots. Google and Facebook particularly have angered lawmakers, the former with several anti-competition strategies and the latter with privacy issues. One European Commission idea is to eventually break these tech giants apart.

Such a plan would be to force companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google to breakup into smaller entities. However, three academics believe company breakups are not the answer, but sharing could be.

The academics were appointed by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager last year to look at the challenges facing regulators when dealing with digital technologies. They say forcing tech companies to share data with rivals will be more effective then breaking them up.

Furthermore, the academic say swifter investigations are needed to move with the rapidly changing technology sector.

There have been calls for companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook to split up. Amazon has courted controversy for the way it has dominated the retail sector. Google has fallen foul of European regulators on multiple occasions, including several multi-billion-dollar fines.

Then there is Facebook, which throughout 2018 fell from one data privacy scandal to the next. Still, the only thing the social network seemed to lose was its reputation.

Make them don’t break them

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is one leading figure who has called for Google to be broken up and called on Europe to be strict with the company.

However, the academics think simplifying and opening data movement between platforms could rein in companies.

“Requiring dominant players to ensure data interoperability may be an attractive and efficient alternative to calling for the break-up of firms – a way that allows us to continue to benefit from the efficiencies of integration,” they said in their report.

All of the recommendations made are non-binding, although Vestager says she will review before moving forward.