The CEOs of big tech giants defend their companies in front of the US lawmakers

  • Sep 19,2020

On Tuesday evening, the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google had an online talk in which they cast their companies as icons of American ingenuity. On Wednesday they will be heard by the legislators about the antitrust. Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai will testify remotely by video chat in front of the House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee. The members of the subcommittee are looking for more than a year if the four tech giants are stifling the competition and harming customers. They had already over 1.3 million documents from the companies, competitors, and antitrust enforcement agencies. 

The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, started first and he chooses to start with the story of his earlier life, and how everything started. He was upbringing by his mom, which was a 17-year-old high school student and his adoptive father who was a Cuban immigrant. Bezos found the company in his garage and drove packages by himself to the post office. That time Amazon was no a sure thing and his parents were the first company investors. The company was not profitable for years. He is framing the story of his company as an American dream. Nowadays Amazon has become the biggest online retailer, and Bezos is the world’s richest person, worth $180 billion. 

For defending himself against monopoly concerns, Bezos talked about his job creation, the company investments in the US, and the competition. 

On job creation, he said that Amazon has employed 1 million people. On US investments he said that the company has invested more than $270 billion in the US over the last decade. On competition, he said that the company is not such a big player yet, because it has less than 1% of the global retail industry and less than 4% of the US market. It is a dominant player in the US online sales because it serves 38% of the market. 

The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg will say that the social network is a proudly American company. Facebook has intense global competition, some of the competitors are TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat. It is also competing with Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet which are owning YouTube and Google. The CEO says that his company believes in values that had built the American economy – democracy, competition, inclusion, free expression. He is giving China as an example because it’s building its own version of the internet focused on different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries. 

Zuckerberg says that this kind of competition is taking his company to the level “playing field” and he has to create new products in response to the competition. 

There were several scandals about data privacy and election meddling. 

Facebook also owns the popular photo-service Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp. Critics want Facebook to separate from WhatsApp and Instagram and became competitors. 

Zuckerberg believes that Facebook will be replaced by another social network one day, because of the fast-changing cycle of technology. 

The CEO of Apple Tim Cook starts with the company launch in 2008. He says that Apple gave rise to global companies, 500 new companies got their start on the iPhone. The company competitors are Samsung, LG, and others. Apple does not have a dominant market share in any of the industries in which it competes.

The testimony of Apple was to defend itself against the arguments raised by the European Commission officials investigating the company. In the EU, Apple has been accused of being a gatekeeper which is picking winners and losers, stifling innovation, and warping competitive prices in the process.

Cook says that the App Store on IOS begun with 500 apps and now it hosts more than 1.7 million, only 60 of them are Apple software. His opinion is that if Apple is a gatekeeper, it has opened the gate wider, because the company wants to get every possible app in the App Store, not to keep them off.

The CEO also says that that 30% of the commission that Apple charges are helping to pay for
improvements, programming tools, and other codes that make the apps work.