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Polis asked by small business to support Big Tech during COVID-19 crisis

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June 6, 2020, 9:05 am

A group of more than 150 small business owners from across Colorado is urging Gov. Jared Polis to support their efforts to keep digital technology tools free or low-cost during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as many workers continue to do their jobs remotely.

Gov. Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis

There’s a growing effort by states attorney generals to investigate so-called “Big Tech” for antitrust violations, including probes of Facebook in New York and Google in Dallas, both of which have been joined by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Here’s a short excerpt of an article produced by RealVail.com for Colorado Politics:

Small businesses in Colorado, fearful of a growing tsunami of federal probes into Big Tech, are asking Gov. Jared Polis to help them rein in any potential disruptions to digital technology platforms during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Polis spearheaded by the nonprofit Connected Commerce Council (3C) and signed by 154 Colorado businesses,  the group argued this is “the wrong time to demand changes in digital technology operations and business models.”

“At a federal level, there’s a cold wind blowing, as they say,” 3C President Jake Ward said in a recent phone interview, referring to the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee preparing to release a report critical of Big Tech, as well as policy recommendations related to mergers and transparency. There are also two ongoing state attorney generals’ probes.

“As an organization, the Connected Commerce Council is not opposed to regulation related to tech, big or otherwise,” Ward said. “We feel like any time you can protect the users and secure the free flow of the market you should do that. Anything that keeps the price low for my members, I’m all about. But what we’re really seeing is a destabilization of access to those tools.”

Colorado stay at home and safer at home orders have limited the number of people allowed in the workplace during the early stages of pandemic, increasing reliance on free or low-cost digital tools such as Google’s G Suite, Zoom video conferencing, Salesforce CRM and a wide array of other marketing and advertising products from Facebook, Amazon and others.

“There’s a feeling that access to those tools, the ability to use those tools at the price that they are currently at, is in danger,” Ward said, “and that creates instability at a time when we simply cannot afford any more uncertainty pushed into the market. It’s hard enough out there.”

Ward added that Polis – one of several governors around the country being targeted by the small-business campaign – is particularly in tune with 3C’s concerns given his background as a highly-successful tech entrepreneur who started and sold several online companies.

“No one wants Colorado’s economy to bounce back stronger than before more than the governor,” Polis press secretary Conor Cahill said of the 3C letter. “As an entrepreneur and business person, the governor understands what it takes to compete and thrive in our economy. and our administration is working with small businesses across the state to ensure they have access to resources they need to weather this crisis and rebuild.”

To read this entire article, go to Colorado Politics.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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