The Congress of the United States prepares to face one of the most important hearings related to the world of technology. Monday, 27 July at 18:00 (Italian time) will be called on the bench of the witnesses to the CEOS of the 4 largest companies in the industry: Jeff Bezos for Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook , and Sundar Pichai for Google.
The hearing has the aim to gather new evidence about the investigation Antitrust started in June 2019, with which we try to understand if the big of the technology have really set up an oligopoly is able to control the market for digital commerce , and if they were able to clear the competition in their respective sectors.
The outcome of this hearing could lay the groundwork for legislation to curb the excessive power of large companies and that the reporting to the internal rules aimed at preventing the creation of monopolies, even if there are large doubts and uncertainties about the effectiveness of this intervention. 4 CEOS, in fact, will be called to bear witness together – in the conference – and to answer general questions in a limited period of time.
The fear is that the hearing could turn into a show the media and nothing more, as it will be impossible to get off in the details and specificity of each single company, as it will be equally difficult to establish rules that can be applied in an equal manner to all parties involved. Although technology giants, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are companies that are deeply different between them, under different points of view: from the business the treaty to which it is put in place.
The expectations are therefore very high, but the risk of being in front of a commission was not able to put the 4 CEO’s with their backs to the wall is really high. Waiting to find out what will be the outcome of the hearing, let’s take a look at the points that could be touched by Congress, the company for the company.
The eye is focused on the business of ecommerce and in particular on its policies in the degree of damage the small sellers operating on its platform, an issue also raised by the Italian competition. The accusation is that to use the data of its partners to decide when to make Amazon products at low cost that are in direct competition with those sold by retailers that operate on Amazon. This will be the first hearing of Bezos.
Regarding Apple, the questions should focus around the App Store and the 30% share that it holds on the sale of the applications. The last one to have expressed on the subject was the president of Microsoft (a company that was not involved in this investigation).
Apple has always defended its quota by stating that it is a standard of the industry, while the main damaged by this policy – such as Spotify, Hey, and many other services – argue that it is a distortion in the market that offers services Cupertino a competitive advantage huge. According to reports, it seems that Cook is not very happy with having to take part in the hearing, especially after having worked a long time to stay in the good graces of the administration to Trump.
Facebook is back before Congress, this time not to talk about the scandal of the Cambridge Analytica or to respond to questions about Pounds. Under test there are different behaviors anticompetitivi and the creation of the duopoly Facebook/Google with regard to the market of online advertising. It is possible that during the hearing emerge new details about the internal discussions in society on these issues and how they were handled by the various responsible.
Lastly, there is Google, it too is in the eye of the storm because of his behaviour anticompetitivi in the field of online search, in addition to advertising. The company in Mountain View is already under scrutiny at two u.s. courts, and the accusation is that of promoting their products and services over those of rivals. To do this, she has taken advantage of its dominant position in Android to make Google the default search engine, and has an agreement billionaire with Apple to ensure that the house of cupertino to do the same with Safari on the iPhone. Recall that in the last hours has emerged a further allegation of abuse of a dominant position, even if this will not be addressed by the commission of the Congress.