Tech CEOs speak before antitrust panel today at noon

In their opening statement, tech CEOs claim they face intense competition

CEOs from four of the U.S.’s largest tech companies will testify before Congress today in a hearing meant to rein in big tech. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos; Apple CEO, Tim Cook; Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg; and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai will all speak before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel as part of the hearing.

Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline has been investigating allegations that the companies’ insatiable appetite for user data has negatively impacted competitors and consumers alike. The hearing concerning these allegations marks the first time the four CEOs have appeared together before Congress. It’s also the first time Bezos has spoken before Congress.

Opening statements for the four tech CEOs were released prior to the hearing. 

Each CEO makes similar arguments in their statements. All four claim that, despite their size and power, their companies face intense competition. Bezos also cites Amazon having created millions of jobs for its own employees and those of third-party businesses using its platform.

“There are now 1.7 million small and medium-sized businesses around the world selling in Amazon’s stores. More than 200,000 entrepreneurs worldwide surpassed $100,000 in sales in our stores in 2019. On top of that, we estimate that third-party businesses selling in Amazon’s stores have created over 2.2 million new jobs around the world,” Bezos remarked.

In his statement, Zuckerberg says Facebook continues to face intense competition, particularly in other countries. He also calls out the Chinese tech industry, saying, “China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.” 

For Pichai, today’s hearing is a chance to claim Alphabet has several competitors. Though Google is the dominant search engine in the U.S., Pichai says, “people have more ways to search for information than ever before — and increasingly this is happening outside the context of only a search engine.” Pichai continued, naming Amazon’s Alexa, Twitter, WhatsApp and Pinterest as alternative sources of information. Pichai says consumers use e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay and Walmart to find information about products too.

Cook, on the other hand, points to the “fiercely competitive” smartphone market Apple faces. With rivals like Samsung, LG, Huawei and Google, Cook says Apple doesn’t dominate any of the markets where it does business.

Today’s hearing is expected to start Wednesday at noon ET. A report from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel is expected by the end of summer or early fall.

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