Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff says "enough is enough" and its time for regulators to rein in tech industry infractions on data privacy and antitrust infringements.
"We need to get the values straight with these tech companies," Benioff told Action Alerts PLUS portfolio manager Jim Cramer on Mad Money's Tuesday evening program. "There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable."
"I'm actually all in on this. I actually think it might be too little too late and [regulators] need to be more aggressive," he added.
Benioff cited regulation in Europe, including GDPR, as a key piece of legislation that should light the way for global action. He lamented the U.S. falling behind on regulating its largest tech companies, calling it "embarrassing."
In his view, companies such as Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon (AMZN) and others have made their own beds and must lie in them as regulators take "corrective action."
Benioff's comments coincide with rumblings from the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and legislative committees that such corrective action is imminent.
The House Judiciary Committee unveiled a sweeping "top-to-bottom' review of unnamed tech companies late Monday, dovetailing with a dual effort from the Department of Justice and the FTC to tackle the perceived dominance and potential abuses of some of the aforementioned tech giants.
"The growth of monopoly power across our economy is one of the most pressing economic and political challenges we face today," said David Cicilline (D- RI), who chairs the Antitrust subcommittee, adding that "market power in digital markets presents a whole new set of dangers."
Cicilline did leave the door for tech giants, which have largely been adamant that self-regulation is possible, to join the congressional conversation.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, however, did not encourage optimism on compromises when he dismissed the idea and took issue with suggestions from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D- MA) that it had a monopoly position that would warrant action from federal authorities.
The presidential hopeful remains steadfast in her belief that big tech companies are harming consumers and must be broken up rather than simply regulated.
"As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people," Warren said in a statement earlier this year. "To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it's time to break up our biggest tech companies."
She cited the government's actions against Microsoft (MSFT) in the 1990s as a key precedent.
As a result, she believes the government should have the ability to unwind acquisitions some of the biggest tech companies have pursued in recent years, including Facebook's buyouts of Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods, and Google's DoubleClick and Waze acquisitions.
It will certainly be an interesting campaign season as Warren gains at least one ally in Silicon Valley.