Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee credited with inventing the web in 1989 argues that big tech companies will likely need to be broken up. Companies like Facebook and Google have become as powerful and culturally influential as most sovereign states. “Through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up.’ Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook have a combined market capitalization of $3.7 trillion, equal to Germany’s gross domestic product last year.
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LONDON (Reuters) – Silicon Valley technology giants such as Facebook and Google have grown so dominant they may need to be broken up, unless challengers or changes in taste reduce their clout, the inventor of the World Wide Web told Reuters.
World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee speaks during an interview ahead of a speech at the Mozilla Festival 2018 in London, Britain October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
The digital revolution has spawned a handful of U.S.-based technology companies since the 1990s that now have a combined financial and cultural power greater than most sovereign states.
Tim Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, said he was disappointed with the current state of the internet, following scandals over the abuse of personal data and the use of social media to spread hate.
“What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field so through history there is no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up,” Berners-Lee, 63, said in an interview. “There is a danger of concentration.”