Big Tech has an antitrust target on its back, and it is only going to get bigger

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…. What impact, then, will inevitable antitrust actions have on tech stocks and innovation beyond Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook? So far, it hasn’t hurt shares of the four companies — each is up at least 30% in 2020, and their combined market value is $5.5 trillion.

In the short term, the threat could be significant as large companies are on their best behavior while they haggle with the federal government in court and closely eye legislators threatening punitive laws.

“I look at it as a mixed bag to a net positive” for Silicon Valley, Matthew Cowan, a general partner at venture-capital firm Next47, told MarketWatch. “There will be a chilling effect on any large acquisition by the five largest tech companies, including Microsoft MSFT, -2.59%. On the flip side, it will prompt companies like Google to be more careful in their business practices, and spur innovation among startups.

Luigi Congedo, principal analyst at venture-capital firm BootstrapLabs, told MarketWatch he expects “more competition, a greater distribution of talent, and more IPOs in the short term.”

For most of the second half of 2020, Google and Facebook were dissuaded from pursuing big M&A deals despite a raft of multibillion-dollar deals in tech, based on data analysis by news site The Information. This could change if Facebook proceeds with a reportedly planned purchase of Kustomer, a customer-relationship management startup, for $1 billion. The likelihood of such a deal, however, probably dimmed considerably with Wednesday’s antitrust lawsuits filed against Facebook.

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