Tech Antitrust Hearing: Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple CEOs to Answer MPs’ Questions


After Microsoft’s Bill Gates moved to Washington in 1998, the CEOs of those companies are now ready to testify before lawmakers at the largest hearing of their kind. Although most of the officers have already appeared in the Congress, they have never faced this situation. It sounds like a lot. All four will testify with each other – and in an epidemic-inspired turn, they will all participate in the trial, virtually using Cisco’s WebEx conferencing platform. The hearing begins at noon ET.

Expect lawmakers to have companies with highly specific questions about their businesses based on documents and other evidence collected during the 13-month investigation. Among other things, Amazon is investigating vendor data usage; Apple, on its App Store policies; Facebook, for its acquisition strategy and its dominance in online advertising; And Google, for its practices in search and advertising. For their part, companies are expected to argue that they have helped countless entrepreneurs and small businesses and made America a leader in innovation amid increasing competition from China.

The high-profile event has all the make-up for the spectacle. But any fireworks would only reflect the underlying stakes for these tech titans, who face multiple investigations by regulators at the federal and state levels, as well as abroad. Those investigations can lead to lawsuits, fines or other consequences that have become the world’s largest, richest corporation.

Tech companies are expected to take advantage of the benefits that American businesses and consumers enjoy, and point to the competitive threat posed by China. In a copy of Zuckerberg’s testimony obtained by CNN, the Facebook founder argues that contrary to his vision for China and the Internet, which “focuses on very different ideas,” Facebook arrived at its success in an American way: we did nothing And provided better products that people find valuable. “

Each testing officer will have different experiences with MPs. Apple’s Tim Cook testified in 2013, before the struggle against Tech really took hold, and went largely unpublished – discussing the finer points of global tax policy with lawmakers. Alphabet’s now-CEO, Sundar Pichai, proved calm under pressure at a hearing covering Google’s data practices and claims of political bias held by the House Judicial Committee in late 2018. And Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg were grilled for 10 hours by the House and Senate. Company’s track record on privacy.

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However, most of the four chief executives are likely to fall on the general public’s attention to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The richest man in the world never testified before Congress. In fact, it is rare to see Bezos interviewing in an unscripted or unfriendly setting, leading many to wonder how his performance is likely under question.

For Congress, the hearing will likely be a report from the retaliatory panel of the House Judiciary Committee, followed by possible legislation to rein in the tech industry or modify the country’s competition laws.

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