WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks via video conference during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)
Congress held their Big Tech hearing on Wednesday, where they spoke with CEO’s of the biggest tech companies in the world, as part of their antitrust investigation into the companies that has been going on for the past year. While much of what the CEO’s said during the hearing didn’t affect anything we already knew, Congress did unveil a trove of documents they had collected and that proved that they have the goods about the companies.
Among these documents – which were released after the hearing on Wednesday night – provided details on how Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, wanted to buy Instagram, in part, to squash the potential competition. They gave light to Jeff Bezos making a sweetheart deal with Apple to get Amazon’s Prime Video app on Apple TV.
This last deal is interesting because it shows that Amazon’s app was initially missing from Apple TV at launch because they didn’t want to pay the 30% of cuts to Apple that other apps and companies. So Bezos met with Apple and negotiated it down to 15%, and soon after, started selling Apple products. This contradicts what Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said the previous day when he claimed Apple treats all of its apps equally.
This is all just a small taste of the documents that shine a bright light on how many of these companies operate. All of it provides a fascinating read as the process continues with the investigation.
Not the Best Impression
Unfortunately, the House antitrust subcommittee didn’t provide the most confidence in them during the hearing, mostly due from the fact that Congress is so fractured and bitter right now. A lot of time was spent on online conspiracy theories and incoherent lines of questioning, which took a lot of the focus away from what really mattered in the hearing. Despite that, however, their showing of all their documents and information proved to us that they have done the dirty work over the past year and have the information they need.
More to Come
Beyond just Congress, as well, these tech companies are being investigated by the DOJ, FTC, and groups of state attorneys in various ways. Those investigations are the ones that are more likely to result in immediate action without waiting for Congress, who has not made a move since the whole issue began a few years ago, to do something.
Our personal highlight of the whole thing was Jeff Bezos not only snacking during the hearing, but then forgetting to unmute himself when it was his turn to speak.
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