(Bloomberg) -- Senator Elizabeth Warren called for a new restriction on major cloud providers Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc., barring them from developing some of the most promising artificial intelligence technologies.

The Massachusetts Democrat also assailed proposed acquisitions of Albertsons Cos. by Kroger Co. and of Discover Financial Services by Capital One Financial Corp.

Warren, a frequent critic of big technology companies’ market power, opened a new front in her campaign against concentration in the industry, arguing Tuesday at a conference in Washington that the three largest cloud providers are positioned to crush smaller competitors in the emerging AI technology of large language models. 

Large language models are the technology that underpins AI chatbots like ChatGPT. Big tech companies are in the small camp of businesses with the infrastructure and funds to support these efforts, which rely on massive amounts of data.

“Each of the major cloud services — Google, Microsoft, and Amazon — should not be allowed to use their enormous size to dominate a whole new field, and that means blocking them from operating large language models,” Warren said at RemedyFest, a conference hosted by Bloomberg Beta and Y Combinator in Washington.

She also called for separating Amazon’s e-commerce platform from its product lines, and breaking up Google’s search business from its browsing services.

In an interview later on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power,” Warren attacked the Kroger-Albertsons and Capital One-Discover deals. She dismissed arguments that the tie-ups could help the companies compete with Walmart in groceries or with Visa and Mastercard in payment processing. 

“This argument has been used pretty much since the beginning of time in antitrust law — ‘oh please, just let me get bigger so I can compete with the other giants,’” she said.

She said Kroger and Albertsons have been shown to be communicating with each other about keeping wages down. 

“It tells us what they want. They don’t want to compete,” she said. “This is another way to say that this is how the giants see their way to improve profits.”

Warren said profit margins have increased dramatically particularly in the grocery business.

“This is not a time for the FTC to say, ‘sure, go ahead and merge, let’s just have one grocery store in each of these areas, setting prices and setting wages wherever they want to set ‘em,” Warren said.

Earlier: FTC Sues to Block Kroger’s $24.6 Billion Albertsons Deal

The FTC on Monday sued to block Kroger from acquiring Albertsons,  arguing the deal would lead to lower wages for workers and higher prices for groceries.

Earlier Tuesday, Senator JD Vance, an Ohio Republican who has aligned with his party’s populist wing, also criticized concentration in the tech industry at the RemedyFest conference. He questioned whether Google needed to own YouTube or Meta to own both Facebook and Instagram, for example, and expressed concern about Google’s Gemini AI project as well. 

“We want to ensure that new entrants can change these things to promote as much competition as possible and you actually want to separate all of these market verticals as much as possible,” he said. “That’s where I think antitrust is probably the most useful way to think about a solution to what we face.”

--With assistance from Kailey Leinz and Joe Mathieu.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.