Break up Facebook And While We’re At It, Google, Apple, and Amazon

Buy Standard Oil.” That’s what John D. Rockefeller is said to have told his golf partner, a priest when he heard the news in 1911 that the Supreme Court had ruled his oil company was to be broken up into 34 smaller firms. It was good advice. Within a few years, the value of those firms rose threefold. The net worth of Rockefeller, who owned more than 25% of each, grew from about $300m in 1911 to $900m in 1913, around $23bn in current dollars. A break-up of today’s tech titans—Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple—could also unlock vast value, say some with an eye on the industry. If the most radical plan, proposed by Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic contender for America’s presidency, were fully implemented, by some calculations the parts spun off alone could be worth over $2trn—roughly half…

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