Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google face claims of ‘harmful’ power

The heads of some of the world’s biggest tech companies have appeared before Washington lawmakers to defend their firms against claims they abuse their power to quash competitors.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said the world “needs large” firms, while the heads of Facebook, Apple and Google argued their companies had spurred innovation.

The appearance comes as lawmakers consider tougher regulation and competition probes are underway.

Some critics want the firms broken up.

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Lawmakers, United in Their Ire, Lash Out at Big Tech’s Leaders
The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, four tech giants worth nearly $5 trillion combined, faced withering questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike on Wednesday for the tactics and market dominance that had made their enterprises successful.

For more than five hours, the 15 members of an antitrust panel in the House lobbed questions and repeatedly interrupted and talked over Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google grilled on Capitol Hill over their market power
The leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google took a brutal political lashing Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans confronted the executives for wielding their market power to crush competitors and amass data, customers and sky-high profits.

The rare interrogation played out over the course of a nearly six-hour hearing, with lawmakers on the House’s top antitrust subcommittee coming armed with millions of documents, hundreds of hours of interviews and in some cases the once-private messages of Silicon Valley’s elite chiefs. They said it showed some in the tech sector had become too big and powerful, threatening rivals, consumers and, in some cases, even democracy itself.

4 Big Tech CEOs take congressional heat on competition
Fending off accusations of stifling competition, four Big Tech CEOs — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple — are answering for their companies’ practices before Congress as a House panel caps its yearlong investigation of market dominance in the industry.

The powerful CEOs sought to defend their companies amid intense grilling by lawmakers on Wednesday.

The executives provided bursts of data showing how competitive their markets are, and the value of their innovation and essential services to consumers. But they sometimes struggled to answer pointed questions about their business practices. They also confronted a range of other concerns about alleged political bias, their effect on U.S. democracy and their role in China.

Titans of Tech Testify in Their Trust-Me Suits
They didn’t look like titans. They didn’t look like masters of the universe. They didn’t look like “emperors of the online economy,” as Representative David Cicilline, chairman of the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and Democrat from Rhode Island, called them. Nor did they look like “cyber barons,” as Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, said.

“They” — the four chief executives of Big Tech: Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook; Tim Cook of Apple; and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, all witnesses in a congressional hearing on their market dominance — didn’t even look all that big.

How much power does tech ‘big four’ have?
Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are the US tech companies that make up the ‘big four’, and together they’re worth $4tn (£3.1tn).

Each of these companies holds a large percent of the market in their respective industries, so but lawmakers are wondering if they hold too much.

Congress Doesn’t Get Big Tech. By Design.
I’ll make an easy prediction about Wednesday’s congressional hearing into the power of big tech companies: Members of Congress will say dumb things.

But please don’t believe that these people are too old or too clueless to exercise effective oversight of tech superpowers.

Amazon may have used proprietary data to compete with its merchants, Bezos tells Congress
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos testified that he couldn’t confirm that the company didn’t use data it collects regarding sales of products in its marketplace to launch its own private-label goods.

It was among the most surprising revelations during a day-long hearing Wednesday that brought Bezos and the CEOs of Apple, Google and Facebook before a House antitrust subcommittee investigation on the clout of the tech behemoths. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who represents the Seattle area where many Amazon employees work, pressed Bezos on whether his company ever used data from the sales by third-party merchants in the marketplace to make business decisions.

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