The top CEOs of the biggest tech giants in the world, including Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO at Facebook, Sudar Pichai, CEO at Google, and Tim Cook, CEO at Apple appeared before the US Congress for the antitrust hearing on Wednesday.
This served as a chance for the CEOs to appear in front of the congressional subcommittees to defend their business practices that many have accused of unfairly stifling competition.
This was the first time the four jointly testified before the lawmakers via video conferencing, who wanted to ensure that the Big Tech did not create anti-competitive monopolies or manipulate user data for self-profits.
The members of House of judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee have been investigating claims of unfair competitive practices and anti-consumer ruses against these tech giants for over a year. In that window, they have reviewed hundreds of hours of interviews and over 1.3 million documents about the companies.
The charges against the tech giants
While defending Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg said that it was a result of the latter being a ‘powerful threat’ that had the potential to siphon business away from Facebook, as per the antitrust probe.
The House of Antitrust Subcommittee stated that rather than competing with Instagram, Facebook bought it, which is exactly the type of anti-competitive acquisition that antitrust laws were designed to prevent.
The video conference for the same was being hosted live on YouTube (1).
Jeff Bezos was asked about his company stifling the growth of third-party sellers on its platform by misusing pricing, inventory, and other data.
The committee alleged that Amazon accesses third-party sellers’ data to boost its own private label despite the company previously denying of engaging in such practices.
Answering to the antitrust committee’s question, Bezos said, “I can’t guarantee you that policy has never been violated.”
Apple treats all app developers equally, Cook says
Apple was questioned if it treats all app developers fairly, or does it discriminate against smaller app developers on the App Store, to which Cook sternly denied.
Cook explained that Apple treated all developers equally, regardless of whether they are small or large. The entire process is rigorous as the company deeply cares about privacy, security, and quality.
On the other hand, Google was grilled on the charges that were hiding search results related to specific political parties and news publications.
Defending Google, Sundar Pichai said that the company solely focused on providing its users with the most relevant results.
The conference went live for a total of 5 hours on House Judiciary’s YouTube channel. The 15 member committee was provided with 5 minutes for each question and discussed various situations, helping in examining the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.