Tech CEOs Address House Panel-No Change Expected. The Bigs Are Gatekeepers but Users Benefit

The Economist August 1st 2020. Tech titan testify “Hearing without listening” “Five hours of questioning with a predictable outcome”

Bezos (Amazon), Zuckerberg (Facebook), Cook (Apple), Pichai (Alphabet)

CEOs from Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook testified before the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

“The most damning emails came from Facebook, which many accuse of having systematically taken over other social-media firms, such as Instagram and Whats-App, to prevent them from becoming serious competitors”. The EMAILs somewhat confirm that but Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) retorted “that Instagram would never have become as big as it is today without Facebook’s help.” And while the committee may have highlighted that these tech titans are essentially “gatekeepers” to the digital economy one might conclude that “the firm’s actions can often be seen as anticompetitive and as benefiting consumers simultaneously.” Tim Cook (CEO) of Apple argued that moves were “not done to hurts apps [Apple Removed Competing Apps from their Apps Store upon their competitive launch] competing with similar offerings from Apple , but to protect user’s data…”

As expected, there was some earnest questioning and some frankly political posturing by the bipartisan committee. In the end, this won’t likely lead to any legislation in the near-term. While if re-elected Trump might issue an executive order on fairness and if Biden is elected this won’t be a priority against a backdrop of solving COVID-19 and restoring the economy.

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