Tech CEOs Face US Congress Over Monopolistic PracticesBy MBN Staff | Thu, 07/30/2020 - 14:31
For the first time, big tech CEOs such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple gathered virtually to respond to US Congress’ accusations of monopolistic practices. On Wednesday, the hearing began with an introduction by the chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, David Cicilline, who emphasized the bipartisan nature of the 13-month investigation into the four tech giants and highlighted the ways the committee found to hinder competition.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these corporations already stood out as titans in our economy,” Cicilline said. “In the wake of COVID-19, however, they are likely to emerge stronger and more powerful than ever before.”
Afterward, CEOs introduced themselves one by one and in their brief speeches. They appealed to their origins and the beginnings of their great companies. In addition to highlighting how they benefit the US economy, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos emphasized that the retail market is "surprisingly large and extraordinarily competitive." Bezos began his opening remarks by recalling Amazon's humble beginnings as an online bookseller but acknowledged it has grown to become "a great company" that deserves scrutiny.
“We compete against large, established players like Target, Costco, Kroger and, of course Walmart, a company more than twice Amazon's size. Twenty years ago we made the decision to invite other sellers to sell on our store, to share the same valuable real estate we spent billions to build, market and maintain”.
Meanwhile, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the company does not have a dominant share of the smartphone market and is in fierce competition with rivals such as Samsung, Google and Huawei. “Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business. That is not just true for iPhone,” he pointed out. Cook also defended Apple's 30 percent fee for digital transactions on the App Store, comparing it favorably to the fees charged by traditional retailers.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in his opening statement, said the company has offered a competitive platform that has lowered prices for advertisers, giving consumers more options. Pichai said the company employs more than 75,000 people in 26 U.S. entities.
Lastly, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network competes fairly and lags behind its competitors in many areas. Zuckerberg called Facebook a “proudly American company” and added that “our story would not have been possible without US laws that encouraged competition and innovation.” However, hours ahead of the hearing, TikTok accused Facebook of “maligning attacks” that are part of a movement “disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.”
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