Big Tech’s Grip Will Ease as Rivals Grow, LinkedIn Founder Says

(Bloomberg) — Big Tech is on its way to becoming a less exclusive club, said Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a partner at venture firm Greylock Partners.  

The current group of tech giants — Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. — is poised to grow from five to 10, he said in an interview with David Rubenstein.  

“We’re already naturally heading in that direction,” Hoffman said in the interview, which aired Wednesday on Bloomberg Television. “You can see it with things like Netflix and Salesforce and, you know, all of these other companies which are continuing to also grow in strength.”

Scrutiny of the biggest tech companies has increased in recent years, with regulators raising antitrust fears and chief executive officers repeatedly testifying before Congress. Just last week, Apple agreed to change its App Store policies to resolve an investigation in Japan. A broader pool of tech titans may help ease some of those concerns.

LinkedIn, which Hoffman helped start in 2003, was sold to Microsoft in 2016 for about $26 billion.

During the interview, Hoffman also listed some of the companies he regrets not investing in, such as Twitter Inc., Snap Inc. and the image-board company Pinterest Inc. Those misses hurt more than the scenarios where he invested in a company that ultimately failed, he said.

“​​Those are much worse outcomes than you put in, you know, $100,000 or $1 million or $10 million in this other company that went to zero,” Hoffman said.

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