Donald Trump hasn’t had the best of relationships with big tech companies. After targeting Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN), Trump now seems to be eyeing Alphabet (GOOG). Trump has often accused the media of suppressing conservative voices. He also feels the media was biased toward Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump targets Facebook
Trump seems to have found fodder to attack Facebook through its cryptocurrency, Libra. Last month, Trump tweeted, “Facebook Libra’s ‘virtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations.” Trump wasn’t alone in speaking against Libra. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Libra could be a “national security issue.” Even Fed chair Jerome Powell doesn’t look a Libra fan.
Trump and Amazon
Trump’s relationship with Amazon has been even rockier. He has lashed out at Amazon, accusing it of paying low tax. He also feels it pays too little for US Post shipping services. Trump has said that US retailers are shutting down because of Amazon, and that there’s “not a level playing field.” Trump has expressed harsher views on the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. In a tweet, he asked, “Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?”
Last month, Trump called for a revisit of the $10 billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract. He stated that some companies have complained about the contract process. Microsoft (MSFT) bid for the contract but Amazon seemed to be favored. This month, the Pentagon stalled the project.
Is Alphabet next?
Trump seems to be eyeing Alphabet now. He has called for investigating Alphabet’s alleged ties with China. This request came after Facebook board member Peter Thiel called for a probe against Google for allegedly helping the Chinese army.
Yesterday, Trump tweeted that Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai “was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China’s military, that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election.” He cited Government Accountability Institute president Peter Schweizer. According to Trump’s tweet, Schweizer “stated with certainty that they suppressed negative stories on Hillary Clinton, and boosted negative stories on Donald Trump. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!”
Targeting big tech
Last month, Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet executives testified before lawmakers in an antitrust probe. Lawmakers were bipartisan in grilling the tech giants. And US lawmakers are not alone in criticizing big tech companies—the European Union is conducting an antitrust probe into Amazon.
Several countries are also considering a digital tax, which France has already approved. The UK and India are also planning to impose a tax on big tech companies’ domestic revenue.