Microsoft's president and chief lawyer Brad Smith has called on antitrust laws in the United States to change. In an interview with CNN, the top Redmond executive says regulatory frameworks must be reformed.
Brad Smith says consumer data should now be factored into deciding if a tech company has a monopoly. This suggests companies that hold the most user data would be under the most threat of accusations of antitrust.
Of course, this would mean Facebook and Google would be in direct trouble. Both companies are known for collecting vast user data information and using it for advertising. Facebook especially has been the subject of numerous antitrust cases because of how it handles customer data.
Microsoft would be less affected, but Smith says tech companies should learn from previous antitrust cases. Brad Smith should know considering he was general counsel for Microsoft at the turn of the century. During this time, Redmond was under fire and accused of forming a monopoly.
Smith says Microsoft learned from this situation.
“I think you can think of Microsoft, the antitrust battles that started in the 1990s, as sort of technology's first collision with the modern world as we know it,” Smith told CNN's Poppy Harlow in a recent interview for Boss Files. “Microsoft had to change. We had to do more to listen to other people, understand their concerns, acknowledge their concerns and then ultimately address them and that required a lot of change.”
In the interview, Smith says tech companies need improved regulations. Changing laws would help to transform due to the massive influence these organizations have over the world.
A new method of measuring monopolies is just one of the ways Smith said he'd like to see laws change so that big tech is better regulated in the United States.
I think there are lots of technology companies that have been founded on a desire to do good for the world,” Smith said. “But I also think that there is an opportunity for introspection, because it's one thing to do what you love to do and be committed to it doing good for the world. It's another thing to step back and ask the harder questions … Are we [doing good for the world]? Are there unintended consequences?”