Startup News Digest 3/15/19

The Big Story: Proposed tech breakup bad for startups. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made waves this week when she called for the breakup of several big tech companies, alleging that they have “too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy.”

Her proposal would create new obligations and burdens for “platform utilities,” or companies with over $25 billion in revenue and offer a platform or marketplace, and require these companies to spin off parts of the company that participate on the platform or in the marketplace. Warren also proposed unwinding several recent technology mergers and touted the proposals as a boon to small companies and innovators.

But Warren’s proposal received immediate backlash, with several people warning against jumping to conclusions and pointing to the Internet giants of yesteryear that were supposedly going to maintain their market power and shut out competition. And investors opposed the proposal, explaining that the idea would hurt startups and that other protections and legal tools should be used to protect consumers.

Policy Roundup:

FTC, 5G, and the future of IoT. A settlement in the Federal Trade Commission’s case against Qualcomm for anticompetitive behavior could set a precedent for industry wide standards to be used to shut out innovation and competition, which could have serious repercussions for new technologies, including 5G networks and the Internet of Things, ACT-The App Association explains in a new blog post this week.

Next net neutrality fight. The House started considering Democrats’ net neutrality proposal—which would restore 2015 rules that kept the Internet a level playing field for startups—with a hearing in the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology this week.

Senate talks privacy. The Senate Judiciary Committee was the latest Hill panel to turn to privacy with a hearing this week examining the impact burdensome privacy rules, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, pose to small businesses and startups.

Last day for 512 roundtables. Today is the last day to sign up for the U.S. Copyright Office’s upcoming roundtables on Section 512, which provides a safe harbor for Internet platforms that host user content and remove content that’s found to be infringing.

Startup Roundup:

Startups take an exit. Startups are leaving Silicon Valley as the technology sector grows, encouraging growth in parts of the country without sky high rents and a limited pool of engineering talent to draw upon. 

Calling all global entrepreneurs. Startups still have a chance to apply for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019, which gathers the world’s top entrepreneurs across five industries. 

Are you a startup in SF? Join us on Tuesday, March 19th for an event on California’s new privacy law and what it means for your company.