The four most powerful Chief Executive Officers in the world will be the center of attention on Wednesday in what promises to be a scintillate probe. Spearheading hearings over antitrust issues is the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are the companies poised to come under scrutiny.
Tech Antitrust Probes
Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, and Sundar Pichai are the executives poised to defend their companies over what small players claim are anticipative practices. This will mark the first time that all four CEOs have jointly appeared in front of a congressional committee.
In the past, some of the tech companies opted to send representatives such as Chief Compliance officers. However, not this time, as the focus will be on Apple’s, Tim Cook, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who have shied from such hearings in the past. Given the ever-growing threat of COVID-19, the CEO’s will appear before the committee remotely via a video conferencing.
The four tech giants have faced scrutiny in recent years over concerns using their industry-leading positions to clamp down on competition. Lawmakers and officials have waged probes and scrutiny over the companies growing dominance in the market that has gone a long way in squashing competition.
Early this year, small tech firms raised complaints over unfair business practices, all but fuelling the antitrust fire that has been raging for years.
Google’s CEO will have to defend the search giant over claims it continues to clamp down on fair competition with its search engine tool. Son’s is one of the companies that has taken the search giant to task over claims it continues to restrict its innovations, let alone trying to get insight into the company’s future products. Sonos has already sued Google over claims it stole its wireless speaker technology.
Amazon, which has grown to become a behemoth in the e-commerce space, is also under investigation over its failure to clamp down on counterfeit products in its e-commerce platform. The e-commerce giant is also under probe, over claims its employees have been using data of independent sellers on its website to develop competing private label products.
In Apple’s case, the probe will center on how the company operates its App Store. There have been complaints in the recent past over the companies handling of App Store sales and in-app payments as well as subscriptions. The iPhone maker is facing complaints that it is using its first stance on protecting user privacy to shield for competitive behavior.
Facebook, on its part, is facing probes over its handling of user’s data. With the ever-growing talk of privacy, there has been a call to curtail the social network giant powers that have seen it collect people’s data and fuel its advertising business.
The bipartisan congressional hearing will seek to find whether the tech giants continue to manipulate their size to give themselves an unfair advantage in their respective industries. The probe also seeks to find how the company’s actions continue to affect the end consumers, given the curtailed competition.
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