the case for trust-busting (and why it might not apply to Silicon Valley)

Matt Stoller argues against current Silicon Valley monopolies not because they concentrate power into the hands of a few knuckleheads but because they stifle innovation, whatever that means at this point (he adopts this frame because he is writing for Business Insider -- in his youth he was a blogger for Open Left, a platform where "good tech" was a means to a political end and not an end in itself). He gives a short history of circumstances where trust-busting led to, let's call it positive technological change:

In 1956, a Republican administration and AT&T signed a consent decree forbidding AT&T from competing in any but common carrier communications services. The decree also forced AT&T to license its patents in a non-discriminatory manner to all comers.

One of those patents was for something called the transistor, which two small companies — Texas Instruments and Motorola — would commercialize.

In the 1960s and 1970s, an antitrust suit against IBM caused the company to unbundle its hardware and software, leading to the creation of the American software industry. It treated suppliers for its new personal computing business with kid gloves, including a small company called Micro-Soft. In the 1990s, a suit against Microsoft allowed another startup named Google to offer an innovative search engine and ad business without fear that Microsoft would use its control of the browser to strangle it.

The great business historian Alfred Chandler, in his book on the electronic century, called antitrust regulators the "Gods" of creation. Antitrust was originally understood as a uniquely American "charter of economic liberty".

But there hasn't been a Sherman Act Section 2 anti-monopolization case for 15 years. And the anti-merger Clayton Act is not being enforced. Neither Bush, nor Obama, nor Trump (so far), has seen fit to stop the monopolists from buying their way into dominance and blocking innovation.

His conclusion is suspect, however:

It is time for leaders in Silicon Valley to start demanding from our government the birthright of every American, which is an open market for commerce, innovation, and personal liberty.

It is time to demand antitrust, so that what once were innovative upstarts, and are now Kings, do not stop the next wave of innovation. Then there will be so much more to invest in, so much more to invent, and so much more to actually create.

That's like saying Bell Telephone should have led the demand to become Baby Bells. It's the disempowered who exert the pressure, not the overlords, by means of organized resistance, boycotts and counter-education. Stoller's analogies break down in the case of Silicon Valley, because crap like Amazon and Facebook is actually hugely popular. To think about breaking them up, you would have to also be thinking about changing your behavior -- throwing away your iPhone and not using Amazon to shop. And there's the rub -- consumers are too addicted to do that.
It's hard to see anything other than infrastructure collapse or societal breakdown causing a change in the Silicon Valley style of monopolistic stranglehold. Even if the internet becomes two-tiered due to cable company pressure, people won't feel it enough to protest if they are using one or two companies to do everything "online."