Demand Progress

Tell Vanguard: Vote to break up Google

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    Tell Vanguard: Vote to break up Google

    Petition to Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley, Chief Investment Officer Gregory Davis, and Investment Stewardship Officer Glenn Booraem:
    We urge you to vote for item number 10 on the Alphabet proxy. Senator Elizabeth Warren has put forward the break-up of Alphabet as part of her campaign platform, the Justice department is currently looking into potential antitrust claims against Google, and the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust also announced plans for an investigation into whether Google stifled competition and hurt consumers. Shareholders could benefit from making Alphabet more manageable, and Alphabet’s management more accountable. To those ends, the board of directors should explore strategic alternatives to the current structure rather than waiting for regulators to force alternatives on Alphabet which may be suboptimal for investors. In particular, the board should evaluate whether the need for accountability outweighs the value of the insulation the dual-class stock structure provides from capital market pressures.

    Sexual abuse.1 Human rights violations.2 Wage theft.3 Privacy violations.4 Data leaks of over 50 million users.5 And illegal location tracking.6

    All brought to you by your friendly neighborhood search engine, Google, and its parent company, Alphabet.

    Google and Alphabet have grown so large that they cannot be managed responsibly. That’s why activist shareholders led by our friends at corporate watchdog SumOfUs have filed a shareholder resolution7 to break up the company.8

    We have to act fast to call on Google’s biggest shareholder, Vanguard, to vote for the resolution--the shareholder meeting is next week.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren and many other political leaders have called for the break up of Google and other big tech companies.9 Will you join Senator Warren’s call to action and tell Google’s biggest shareholder, Vanguard, to vote to break up Google?

    As Senator Elizabeth Warren has stated, big tech has too much power— “too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”10

    We urgently need to break up big tech monopolies.

    If we break up big tech, you’ll still be able to search on Google like you do today, use Facebook to keep in touch with family, and shop at Amazon. But these companies wouldn’t be able to crush smaller competitors or abuse users privacy--meaning more choices for us and a stronger democracy.

    Join the movement to rein in big tech monopolies. Tell Vanguard to vote to break up Google.


    1. The Mercury News, “Google’s parent firm Alphabet lost billions through response to sexual harassment: lawsuit,” January 10, 2019.
    2. The Intercept, “I Quit Google Over Its Censored Chinese Search Engine. The Company Needs to Clarify Its Position on Human Rights,” December 1, 2018.
    3. The Guardian, “‘A white-collar sweatshop’: Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft,” May 29, 2019.
    4. U.S. Federal Trade Commission, “Google Will Pay $22.5 Million to Settle FTC Charges it Misrepresented Privacy Assurances to Users of Apple's Safari Internet Browser,” August 9, 2012.
    5. Wired, “A New Google+ Blunder Exposed Data from 52.5 Million Users,” December 10, 2018.
    6. BBC News, “Google challenged over location tracking,” November 27, 2018.
    7. SEC filing, Proposal 10 on Alphabet proxy statement, May 2019.
    8. SEC filing, Exempt solicitation letter to Alphabet shareholders from SumOfUs, June 2019.
    9. The New York Times, “Google and Amazon Are at the Center of a Storm Brewing Over Big Tech,” June 2, 2019.
    10. Elizabeth Warren on Medium, “Here’s how we can break up Big Tech,” March 8, 2019.