Big tech CEOs appear at historic antitrust congressional hearing

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Antitrust

One of the most anticipated events for investors and lawmakers alike was the historic congressional hearing between the largest tech companies in the world. The CEO’s of Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple all were present together (albeit remotely, due to this coronavirus pandemic) at a hearing with lawmakers. Both Republicans and Democrats grilled the companies on their involvement in antitrust, censorship, and free speech issues.

Wednesday’s videoconference went on for five full hours and was a major headline for most major financial news outlets. Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, as well as Sundair Pichai were all present and received a barrage of questions from lawmakers. The tone and subject of the questions, as to be expected, was fairly confrontational, if not almost aggressive. Considering the amount of negative scrutiny social media and tech giants have received, this was far from surprising.

Each company received questions more specific to its own operations. Amazon’s CEO was questioned on whether it uses other seller’s private data to develop their own competing products. Facebook’s CEO was asked about how it moderates users as well as details behind its historical acquisitions. Google’s CEO was asked questions regarding the company’s involvement in China, as well as how it uses its search platform.

Apple’s CEO ended up receiving fewer questions than the other three. This is mainly due to the fact that the company is less involved in online commerce and social media than the other three. Tim Cook was still asked questions regarding the company’s policies with its App Store.

Even though he wasn’t present at the proceedings, President Trump tweeted his own comments regarding the hearing. He went on to say that if “Congress doesn’t bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders.” Although Republicans were less enthusiastic about a potential antitrust crackdown then the Democrats were, the general tone of the hearing was pretty stern. “Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy,” said one Congressperson at the start of the meeting.

Shares of all four companies didn’t really respond much to the news, with the tech giants all gaining around 1-2 percent. While their stocks might move a bit more on Thursday, the four tech giants seem to have emerged from this hearing relatively unscathed. Considering that there are still plenty of antitrust investigations going on around the world involving some of these companies, the results of this hearing weren’t really that surprising.

 

Google Company Profile

Alphabet is a holding company, with Google, the Internet media giant, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Google generates 99% of Alphabet revenue, of which more than 85% is from online ads. Google’s other revenue is from sales of apps and content on Google Play and YouTube, as well as cloud service fees and other licensing revenue. Sales of hardware such as Chromebooks, the Pixel smartphone, and smart homes products, which include Nest and Google Home, also contribute to other revenue. – Warrior Trading News

 

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