Today marks the start of a potentially significant week for big tech firms – namely Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook – with all four set to speak before the US House Judiciary Committee regarding antitrust.
More specifically to make a case for why their particular firm should have such a strong hold on the technology space as they do.
CEOs from the aforementioned big tech firms are all set to speak at the antitrust hearing later today, 18:00 local time to be more precise, but have all issued preemptive opening statements.
All four are available for download as PDFs from the House Judiciary Committee website, and unsurprisingly, all of the CEOs are making the case that their respective companies are good for the American economy.
To that end Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, offer up similar examples as to why their company’s dominance should be seen as a positive and not a negative.
Bezos and Pichai highlight small businesses as an example of the work that Amazon and Google do, with the former noting the revenue it helps generate for SMEs and the latter pointing to the advertising opportunities that it offers.
Apple also took the tact of its economic contributions, with Cook explaining that the App Store and its ecosystem has led to $138 billion for the US economy during 2019.
Zuckerberg went a slightly different route, stressing that Facebook’s value is that of a facilitator of connectivity across the globe through its social media platforms (WhatsApp and Instagram).
While all four big tech CEOs seem to have their respective rhetoric planned out, according to the opening statements, it will be what they say in front of the Committee that will prove most crucial.
“Since last June, the Subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust Subcommittee chairman David Cicilline, noted in a joint statement.
“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming. As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation,” they concluded.
As with any hearing like this, it remains to be seen what kind of change it will bring about. Big tech CEOs have appeared before the US Senate in the past for example, and little has changed as a result.
Hopefully this week’s event will prove different.
If you’re interested in watching the hearings, and can stay up late enough to do so, you can watch it live here.