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Elizabeth Warren Wants to Challenge Mergers Like Amazon and Whole Foods

Starbucks gives employees an Ariana Grande playlist as a peace offering, and more news to start your day

Senator Elizabeth Warren Holds Iowa Organizing Events For 2020 Presidential Race Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Elizabeth Warren proposes a breakup of ‘big tech’

Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is flexing this week in a letter on Medium that outlines her policy goals for taking on the nation’s tech giants. Warren writes that companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have amassed too much influence:

Today’s big tech companies have 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.

As president, Warren would make it a priority to change that by reclassifying online marketplaces with annual global revenue of $25 billion or more as “platform utilities” and prohibiting them from owning any third-party participants in the marketplace. Warren would also appoint regulators to “reverse illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers” such as Amazon, Whole Foods, and Zappos. Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion.

And in other news...

  • After driving their baristas crazy with an endless Hamilton soundtrack loop in January, Starbucks gave a peace offering to its employees: an Ariana Grande playlist. The company reportedly issued a memo with the announcement, gently reminding staff that they “can choose from more than 20 playlists in stores and change the playlist any time to fit the mood and day part for their store!” [Business Insider]
  • It’s not lost on the folks at Dunkin’ that McDonald’s new Donut Sticks are a lot like Dunkin’ Donut Fries. [US Weekly]
  • Frigid temperatures from January’s Polar Vortex had a cooling effect on restaurant sales, with traffic down an average of more than 11 percent. This makes a lot of sense since everyone knows it’s best to stay home and grill steaks outdoors when it’s 40 below. [Restaurant Business]
  • Who will be inspecting lab-grown meat for human consumption? The FDA will be monitoring the laboratories and the USDA will be handling the production and labeling. [USDA]
  • Ice cream maker Humphry Slocombe partnered with Queer Eye on a new ice cream flavor that for some reason contains zero avocados. It’s called Cookies + Graham and was made in honor of the new season, out March 15 on Netflix. [Humphry Slocombe]
  • A farm workers organization that represents the tomato industry in Florida is inspiring students on college campuses to boycott Wendy’s restaurants. The chain sources its tomatoes from outside of Florida. [New York Times]
  • The CEO of National Beverage Corp. — maker of LaCroix — is blaming “injustice” for the company’s sinking sales. [Intelligencer]
  • Reckless Brewing Company in San Diego is facing backlash for using the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream’ speech as a tool for marketing a black lager called “Black Lagers Matter.” The owner then proceeded to dig himself into an even deeper hole by claiming that some people have “no sense of humor.” [Munchies]
  • Important Friday question: Is drinking tequila an act of feminism? [Jezebel]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]