Image by Alex Knight

APPLE, AMAZON, FACEBOOK, GOOGLE FACE CLAIMS OF 'HARMFUL' POWER

30 July 2020

Of the tech titans, which included the CEOs of Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL), some fared better than others in the first hours of the hearing.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, acknowledged, albeit earnestly and transparently, that Amazon may have improperly used third-party seller data to inform its own product decisions -- a key concern over the company's approach to competition.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook, on the other hand, got off pretty lightly. Despite some early questions about whether Apple favors certain developers on its App Store, there were relatively few questions about Apple's App Store guidelines for developers, which have been a main complaint among critics.

    For over a year, top lawmakers in Congress have been investigating the four tech giants to determine whether the companies have abused their power and dominance in the online marketplace. Wednesday's event marked the culmination of that process and is the biggest hearing of its kind since Microsoft's Bill Gates went to Washington in 1998.

    Jeff Bezos has a mixed first appearance in Congress

    Of the four CEOs at the hearing, Bezos' testimony was arguably the most highly anticipated as the world's richest person had never appeared before Congress.

    After avoiding any questioning for the first two hours of the hearing, Bezos fielded multiple sharp questions on Amazon's approach to pricing, acquisitions and how it uses data from third-party sellers.

    Bezos acknowledged that there is a policy that prohibits the use of third-party seller data to support Amazon's own private-label business. But, he admitted, "I can't guarantee you that policy has never been violated."

    At various times in the hearing, Bezos either said he couldn't answer the question or couldn't recall the incident he was being questioned about.

    Facebook's billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram comes under scrutiny

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was confronted about internal company emails he sent in 2012 about buying Instagram. The emails were acquired by the House Judiciary Committee as part of its antitrust investigation.

    In one email, Zuckerberg said Instagram could be "very disruptive" to Facebook. An email from Facebook's chief financial officer referenced neutralizing a potential competitor, which Zuckerberg replied was part of the motivation.

    Rep. Jerry Nadler said the emails showed Facebook viewed Instagram as a threat and, rather than compete with it, his company bought it.

    In response, Zuckerberg did not deny he viewed Instagram as a threat, but pointed out that the deal was approved by the Federal Trade Commission at the time.

    Under fire, tech CEOs appeal to American patriotism

    All the tech executives sought to drive home the point that their companies are by America, for America.

    Bezos referenced the "trust" Americans have in Amazon. "We need American workers to get products to American customers," he said in his prepared remarks.

    "Apple is a uniquely American company whose success is only possible in this country," Cook said in his remarks, touting the number of US jobs it has helped create.

    And the US battle with China for tech supremacy informed part of Zuckerberg's argument.

    "If you look at where the top technology companies come from, a decade ago the vast majority were American," the Facebook CEO said. "Today, almost half are Chinese."

    Jeff Bezos has a mixed first appearance in Congress

    Of the four CEOs at the hearing, Bezos' testimony was arguably the most highly anticipated as the world's richest person had never appeared before Congress.

    After avoiding any questioning for the first two hours of the hearing, Bezos fielded multiple sharp questions on Amazon's approach to pricing, acquisitions and how it uses data from third-party sellers.

    Bezos acknowledged that there is a policy that prohibits the use of third-party seller data to support Amazon's own private-label business. But, he admitted, "I can't guarantee you that policy has never been violated."

    At various times in the hearing, Bezos either said he couldn't answer the question or couldn't recall the incident he was being questioned about.

    Facebook's billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram comes under scrutiny

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was confronted about internal company emails he sent in 2012 about buying Instagram. The emails were acquired by the House Judiciary Committee as part of its antitrust investigation.

    In one email, Zuckerberg said Instagram could be "very disruptive" to Facebook. An email from Facebook's chief financial officer referenced neutralizing a potential competitor, which Zuckerberg replied was part of the motivation.

    Rep. Jerry Nadler said the emails showed Facebook viewed Instagram as a threat and, rather than compete with it, his company bought it.

    In response, Zuckerberg did not deny he viewed Instagram as a threat, but pointed out that the deal was approved by the Federal Trade Commission at the time.

    Under fire, tech CEOs appeal to American patriotism

    All the tech executives sought to drive home the point that their companies are by America, for America.

    Bezos referenced the "trust" Americans have in Amazon. "We need American workers to get products to American customers," he said in his prepared remarks.

    "Apple is a uniquely American company whose success is only possible in this country," Cook said in his remarks, touting the number of US jobs it has helped create.

    And the US battle with China for tech supremacy informed part of Zuckerberg's argument.

    "If you look at where the top technology companies come from, a decade ago the vast majority were American," the Facebook CEO said. "Today, almost half are Chinese." © 2020 Cable News Network.