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Bill Gates Says Tech Giants Should Be Probed Separately If Regulators ‘Want To Get Serious’ About Antitrust Concerns

Microsoft Corporation MSFT 0.54% co-founder Bill Gates said Thursday at the GeekWire Summit that a more in-depth and company-specific approach is required by regulators in antitrust matters, CNBC reported.

What Happened: The former executive touched on the subject of U.S. regulators probing Amazon.com, Inc AMZN 0.75%Alphabet Inc GOOGL 0.51% GOOG 0.57%Facebook Inc. FB 1.88%, and Apple Inc AAPL 0.4%.

According to Gates, while scrutiny is important, the regulators who are investigating the tech giants need to think of the specific rules applying to each of them.

“I think it’s kind of unfortunate that they’re grouping the companies together, because there are so many different issues,” Gates said, as per CNBC.

The Microsoft co-founder said it is still early days as far as antitrust matters are concerned. “If they want to get serious, they’re going to have to focus in, enumerate the issues and them debate them. so I’d say we’re kind of at the beginning,” he suggested.

Europe is more willing to try regulations than the United States, according to Gates, who suggests following the continent’s lead.

Gates also drew from his own experiences related to facing antitrust heat against Microsoft in the 1990s. When asked to advise Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, he said it was important to develop political relationships.

“I think the main mistake I made, which was not realizing how important it would be to develop relationships in Washington, be engaged there,” said Gates.

“Jeff even has a nice house in Washington, DC. They may even be making some other mistakes. But everybody saw what I did and knows better now.”

Why It Matters: Earlier in the month, a Democrat-led Congressional panel concluded in a 450-page report that large technology companies are stifling innovation and hindering competition.

The report advocated strong measures which include prohibiting these companies from operating in adjacent businesses.

The U.S. is unlikely to copy the antitrust-related European Union charges against Amazon as the underlying regulatory regimes differ, according to antitrust attorney Donald I. Baker.

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