Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’s officials suffered a harsh political lashing on Wednesday, July 29. Democrats and Republicans criticized the tech CEOs for using their monopoly to smash rivals and collect results, consumers, and revenues.
The intense questioning took place over a roughly six-hour session. House’s main antitrust panel provided thousands of documents, hours of interviews, and Silicon Valley’s powerful bosses’ once-private texts.
Lawmakers pointed out that other tech CEOs have grown too large and dominant in the tech industry. They also claimed the tech giants continue to undermine competitors, investors, and in some instances, even democracy itself.
“Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy,” said Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.).
Cicilline, the antitrust panel chairman, launched last year’s legislative inquiry for the tech giants. He intends to determine how the most powerful business quartet in the software world gained its position through anti-competitive methods. Four tech CEOs, namely Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai, took the witness stand on Wednesday. They taking the traditional oath to give honest testimony from the west coast through videoconferencing.
Lawmakers fully grill Amazon, Google, Facebook
That of the software leaders has been taking considerable care to highlight their commitments to the US economy. Amazon has identified itself as one of the most common supermarket companies. Shoppers can quickly and efficiently purchase their products. Apple said it’s found it easy to balance a highly successful software community with commonly coveted, high-end gadgets.
Facebook claimed it had advocated for free speech and communication amid a growing digital repression wave, referring to emerging rivals like TikTok. And Google said its software helped people around the world to find knowledge and develop businesses.
Quickly, though, Democrats’ antitrust committee was trying to uncover the reasons behind the achievements of the four internet companies.
Some politicians directly accused Google of modifying its powerful search engine to undermine rivals. Cicilline directly alleged Google had “robbed material to create your own company.” He pointed out the search giant’s habit of stealing and showing details at the top of the search results for consumers.
Historically, Google has claimed the search methodology lets users locate the information they seek, or the items they’re searching for. In Yelp’s case, however, Cicilline doubted Google’s intentions, arguing that the search engine had taken their restaurant ratings and tried to “delist” the platform when it objected. Cicilline has suspected Google of traffic tracking to detect a strategic threat.
“Our documents show that Google evolved from a turnstile to the rest of the web to a walled garden that increasingly keeps users within its sights.”
On his side, Pichai denied the allegation that Google has abused material and undermined competitors. He said the company is helping 1.4 million small companies in their main economic operation today that generates over $385 billion. Google sees a lot of businesses thriving, especially during the pandemic, Pichai added.
Is Apple now ‘safe’ from interrogations?
Cook, the Apple CEO, was having fewer inquiries than his peers. However, a few senators peppered him with concerns regarding how the firm operates the App Store.
Several politicians have consistently questioned the company’s strategy of charging up to a 30 percent profit on in-app purchases and rentals. The iPhone maker insists the charge effectively finance the whole device network. Cook confirmed Wednesday at one stage to legislators that since it launched the shop in 2008, the firm has not increased the prices.
But senators also released a paper that revealed one of Apple ‘s managers, Eddy Cue, requested that developers be asked to pay more in 2011. They released it online, though Cook clearly emphasized at the hearing that Apple had no intention to harm the developers.