“Any damage to the big companies would damage the whole economy,” said Yesh Devabhaktuni, 25, who works as a software engineer for Walmart Labs. “The small companies need the big companies.”
Others moved here from around the world to work in the industry.
“Tech giants are where innovation is happening, and they offer a lot of jobs,” said Fred Ren, 27, a software engineer who immigrated from Canada. “I came here for that.”
And some scoffed at the idea that start-ups could no longer compete.
“There’s always opportunities for more start-ups,” said Edmund Park, 28, a data scientist for a market research firm.
The fire alarm technician walking by did not like it, either.
“‘Big Tech’ is a big generalization,” said Rick DeRushia, 58.
Even a tech worker whose project was blocked by Google argued against breaking up the tech giants. Michael Plasmeier, 28, a product manager, had once worked on a home screen competitor that he says Google squeezed out.
“That product ended up not going anywhere, and, yeah, it was frustrating,” Mr. Plasmeier said, adding that he still did not want to see the companies broken up. He said that because big tech firms often bought struggling start-ups, they played a vital role keeping the region’s innovation machine going.
Chuck Conlon, 44, who works as a sales and design consultant at HD Buttercup, the high-end furniture store the billboard is attached to, suggested the message might have more fans in a different part of the city. The Caltrain station is in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, home to scores of tech start-ups.