SumOfUs, a US-based group that seeks to curb growing corporate power, has decided to make this proposal at the Annual Alphabet Shareholders’ Meeting on Wednesday at an auditor at the California company‘s Sunnyvale offices.
“Officials in the US and the EU continue to be concerned about the power of the alphabet market in view of the restrictions on monopoly,” the proposal states. “We believe that shareholders can get greater value from a voluntary strategic reduction to the size of the company than from regulatory asset sales.”
The proposal has no real chance of success, as the two leading figures in the alphabet, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, hold 51.3 percent of the shareholders’ vote.
However, it shows a growing focus on the prospect of antitrust action against the alphabet and other major technology firms such as Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc. while facing a political and public reaction to privacy issues and the power they now have over world information.
US President Donald Trump has been a frequent critic of Google, claiming without evidence that his search engine unfairly produces unfavorable results against him. He has suggested that US regulators should follow Europe’s supremacy and closely monitor the monopoly of technology companies but have not suggested any special remedy.
The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are preparing to investigate whether Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook abuse their massive market power, sources said earlier this month.
The dissolution proposal is a record of 13 in the vote at Wednesday’s alphabet meeting. A group of Google employees supports five of the proposals that helped in the crafts, but not in the proposal to split the company.
Leaders of Tibetan and Uyghur ethnic groups worried about Google’s work in China are among the speakers expected to speak in demonstrations outside the auditorium before the meeting. Community activists by typing Google to address housing shortages in Silicon Valley also planned to gather.
The alphabet said in the materials of the shareholders its existing policies address the issues raised in the proposals and refused to comment further.
Although none of the proposals are likely to pass, Google may respond to issues raised. The company stopped working on a censored Chinese search engine and stopping the use of its artificial intelligence tools for armaments following the demands of foreign workers and activists.
“We started as a voice in the desert for some of these issues, but conversations have come further ahead,” said SumOfUs campaign manager Sondhya Gupta./Investing.com