Wednesday’s tech antitrust hearing was a grueling six-hour event in which House committee members grilled Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai about their companies’ market power.
Cook, Apple’s CEO, received what seemed like the fewest questions, but he was asked about the App Store and how Apple treats app developers.
Zuckerberg was probed on Facebook’s acquisition strategy and whether it bought companies like Instagram to “neutralize” a competitor.
Pichai, who is CEO of Google-parent Alphabet, received what seemed like the most questions from the committee on matters ranging from perceived conservative censorship to Google’s search dominance.
Bezos had perhaps the most surprising admission of the day when he admitted Amazon may have violated its own policies when it comes to third-party seller data and its private-label business.
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Four of tech’s most high-profile leaders spend nearly six hours on Wednesday being grilled before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee.
The hearing allowed subcommittee chair Rep. David Cicilline to compel Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, to answer questions on their companies’ acquisition strategies, data collection tactics, advertising methods, and behavior toward consumers and third-party vendors that use their platforms.
The hearing also opened up the floor to questions unrelated to antitrust. Several members of the committee grilled executives like Zuckerberg and Pichai over what they see as conservative censorship on their platforms, and Cook and Bezos were questioned on topics like cancel culture and charitable donations through their platforms.
Wednesday’s hearing was the first time Bezos testified before Congress and the first time all four major tech CEOs testified alongside each other. The subcommittee said it would use the testimonies it gathered Wednesday to complete its year-long investigation into whether Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google engaged in anticompetitive practices.
But if you didn’t sit through all six hours of testimony, here’s what you need to know about how each CEO was questioned Wednesday’s hearing.
Tim Cook was scrutinized over Apple’s treatment of app developers
Cook was largely left alone for a significant portion of the hearing. When he was questioned, Cook was mostly asked about the App Store, and whether Apple applies rules differently to different developers.
Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia, told Cook the committee’s investigation had found that “the rules are made up as you go, they are arbitrarily interpreted and enforced, and are subject to change whenever Apple sees fit to change.”
Cook denied that’s the case, saying the company treats every developer the same.
“We have open and transparent rules, it’s a rigorous process,” Cook said. “Because we care so deeply about privacy and security and quality we do look at every app before it goes on. But those rules apply evenly to everyone.”
When Johnson asked whether Apple would ever raise App Store commission fees, Cook replied that doing so would push developers to other app stores.
“It’s so competitive I would describe it as a street fight for market share,” Cook …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Tech