Bad news for the world’s biggest CEO’s. What to expect?
Maybe some people remember what happened 22 years ago. Bill Gates went before the Congress because he was unfairly charged with enhancing Microsoft’s competition. What he said and done back in the time become familiar in Silicon Valley. He claimed that he and his colleagues done so much for the US’s economy that nobody has done before. Microsoft’s products are not only super innovative but are also on affordable prices. His company opened thousands of workplaces and made United States the leader of technology industry. Gates’ testimony seems to be rejected no matter how right he is, and his company will be facing a huge lawsuit process from the government, which can be a turning point for the US digital economy.
Now the situation is almost the same. The Congress is preparing a big lawsuit for the biggest tech companies nowadays. Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple are going to be grilled by the authorities. Microsoft which also a tech giant will be avoiding this circumstances because this antitrust scrutiny is focused on digital advertising that Microsoft has nothing in common with. On Wednesday the people behind all these companies are going to appear before the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel to answer the judge’s allegations about why the companies are so dominant and talk about the harm the might caused to their competition. Every one of them on their own. The group includes two of the richest man in the world and this trial is going to be very reported and talked about. Nobody now till today if they are going to appear on the panel in a video conference or maybe in person because of the pandemic situation. The hearing was supposed to be on Monday but was postponed because of Rep. John Lewis’s funeral.
Since Bill Gates’ antitrust process in 1998 there was no such process and maybe the time has come. The experts think that maybe the same story as Microsoft’s will repeat as the tech giants are being observed for a long time by the federal officials and European Union also. Gene Kimmelman, a former Justice Department antitrust official said that the more pressure is being put on these companies the more antitrust authorities are digging in their investigations and they are becoming violent. The Senior committee said that they will stay focused on the Big Tech’s power and their potential to bury the small companies and only they will be gathering evidences on that. But this is a hard task since the technology giants play such an important role in many economics’ fields and in the politics as well. There will be no surprise if this trial causes a dramatic showdown.
Any of the CEO’s have different experience with the US’s authorities. In 2013 Tim Cook who is the leader of Apple had a hearing about the global tax policy. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s Alphabet has a lawsuit about Google’s practices and claims of political bias in 2018. Mark Zuckerberg , the Facebook’s CEO was about 10 hours before the Senate talking about the company’s record on privacy. Even if all of them are pretty well known by the lawmakers there are rumors that maybe the most attention will get Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – the richest man in the world. Lately he was buying new home, establishing new Amazon offices and got the ownership of The Washington Post. And the most surprising thing is he has never been testified before the Congress and not even interviewed so this is causing questions about how he will perform before the judge.
The allegations for the four tech giants are with very wide range. They are going to answer about how the technologies affect our lives in past few years and how they fulfilled almost every corner of our privacy. To perform this hearing the Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel had to conduct many interviews, hundreds of calls and observe millions of documents. The CEO’s testimony will be the final piece of the puzzle. It is a bad time for the Silicon Valley now and the tech giants leaders are under fire but soon it will be clear what is going to happen and what are going to be the consequences.