At the “Online Platforms and Market Power” digital antitrust listening to right this moment, the House Judiciary Committee questioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai over Webex. But they weren’t all questioned equally. Most of the questions have been directed at Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Pichai — every of them was within the scorching seat for not less than 50 minutes, by our measure. Cook in the meantime was solely requested a handful of questions for about 25 minutes. This breakdown of what number of instances every CEO was questioned by a congressperson right this moment exhibits the place the antitrust focus is, and isn’t:
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: 13 instances
- Apple CEO Tim Cook: 7 instances
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: 16 instances
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai: 16 instances
Antitrust investigations matter to the businesses being scrutinized but additionally the companies that depend upon them. In this case, that features, however isn’t restricted, to any enterprise that sells items on Amazon, desires its web site to point out up in Google search outcomes, provides an iOS app on Apple’s App Store, and makes use of adverts to focus on potential clients through Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are pursuing antitrust investigations into all 4 corporations.
One of the various issues of asking the 4 CEOs to seem on the identical day, as an alternative of say on 4 separate days, is that some will inevitably get extra display time than others. The committee clearly centered on Amazon, Facebook, and Google for his or her anti-competitive behaviors. Bezos was taken to process over Amazon utilizing vendor particular information to find out what merchandise to fabricate and promote itself. Pichai was repeatedly criticized for Google prioritizing its personal services and products in its search outcomes. Zuckerberg was regularly questioned about Facebook buying competing social networks, particularly Instagram. Cook, in the meantime, talked about Apple’s App Store a handful of instances, and that was that.
Compared to Cook, the opposite three CEOs every spent thrice longer representing their respective corporations. That’s excellent news for Apple. It’s not so excellent news for companies that construct on Apple’s platforms.
While right this moment’s listening to is a major public occasion, it’s a small a part of the bigger sequence of antitrust investigations into Big Tech. We will hear extra about these over the subsequent few months, particularly following the U.S. elections in November.
All 4 corporations report their newest quarterly earnings tomorrow. The respective earnings calls could also be much less yawn-inducing than regular. The outcomes will embody the primary full quarter in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Investors might also have follow-up questions concerning right this moment’s listening to.