Half the biggest US technology companies become too big. Some experts in the US have begun to argue that the likes of Facebook, Amazon, and Google have come to dominate their markets in an anticompetitive way. They are, they argue, the big oil or the railroad corporations of their day.
They particularly criticised the way in which some technology companies pick off upstart rivals, either by developing technology that looks very similar to theirs or simply by buying them up. Some say, for example, that Facebook has come to dominate online photosharing, in part by buying up Instagram and in part by developing Instagram stories, which looks very similar to Snapchat.
The problem for regulators has always been that, in the US, taking antitrust action relies on showing that the consumer has been harmed in some way, usually that prices have gone up. But the likes of Facebook and Google give their product away for free, while things bought on Amazon are often cheaper than they are elsewhere.
For that reason, some have begun to argue for a change of approach entirely, as far as their technology sector is concerned. This week, the Federal Trade Commission announced it was setting up a task force dedicated solely to looking at antitrust issues in the technology sector. That task force, the FTC said, would even go as far as to look at deals which it previously approved.
Facebook, Instagram anyone? The FTC wouldn't say. Meanwhile, I've been talking to David Cicilline, the top US Democratic congressman as far as antitrust issues are concerned. He also thinks there's a problem. And he told me he has a rather radical solution for how to fix it. More on that next week on FT.com. For now, however, it seems clear that big tech might be becoming too big for its own good.