Amarcast Special Podcast 29 July: Antitrust hearing of Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jeff Bezos Explained
1. The virtual testimony marks the first joint congressional appearance by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet. It comes at a time of rising legal jeopardy for the major tech companies, who are the subject of antitrust and consumer-protection probes in Washington, multiple U.S. states and Europe — but also amid questions about whether Congress can provide a counterweight to the wealth and power of Silicon Valley.
2. Here’s a short list of just the US probes:
Nearly every state is investigating Google, starting with its advertising and search dominance.
Nearly every state is also investigating Facebook, with a focus on whether the company has “put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, and increased the price of advertising.”
The Justice Department is probing Google, including looking at search on its Android mobile operating system.
The DOJ is also reportedly looking into a possible antitrust probe of Apple.
The Federal Trade Commission is looking at past acquisitions by all the big tech companies. The FTC is also conducting an antitrust probe of Facebook specifically.
3. Tiktok CEO Rips into Facebook in a blog on Fair competition before antitrust hearings: At TikTok we welcome competition. We think fair competition makes all of us better. To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on. Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly. But let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.
. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is likely to play the “American company” card: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to defend his company from allegations of market dominance and antitrust violations on Wednesday by arguing that his company has helped “millions of businesses” and consumers, particularly during the pandemic, according to a copy of his prepared testimony obtained by CNN Business.
Zuckerberg will seek to dispel claims that the company has harmed competition by arguing that Facebook must constantly compete or face extinction, according to the prepared remarks. He will also point to the rising competitive threat posed by China, which he will claim is “building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.”
5. how big the four Big Tech companies really are: Amazon, Apple and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, each have market caps of $1 trillion or more. Apple, in particular, is already well on its way to being worth $2 trillion.
he combined market cap of the four tech companies now accounts for about 16% of the S&P 500. With Microsoft added in, the companies account for 22%.
. Nothing much is going to change: But they don’t directly lead to any rule-changing or law-making. That stuff will or won’t happen, for the most part, off-camera. Some of it will be in closed-door meetings between regulators and lobbyists from the tech companies; some may be in legal proceedings, like an expected antitrust suit in the works against Alphabet, led by state attorneys general. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are also pursuing investigations into all four of the companies whose leaders are testifying on Wednesday.