The directors of four of the world's largest technology companies, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google, plan to argue at a congressional hearing on antitrust law on Wednesday that they are facing intense competition with each other and with other competitors.
The testimony from Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook, released on Tuesday, shows four executives looking over the shoulder of competitors who may make them obsolete.
They are introduced to the House Justice Committee's Cartel Committee, which examines how their business practices and data gathering have hurt smaller competitors.
Bezos plans to highlight Amazon's contribution to the economy and the way Amazon has invested $ 270 billion in the United States over the past decade, creating more than 700,000 "indirect" jobs.
Mark Zuckerberg will defend Facebook and its acquisitions at a virtual antitrust hearing in Congress on Wednesday
His statement underscores the company's commitment to bringing its products to customers – which in his opinion are jobs that cannot be outsourced “to China or anywhere else”.
& # 39; To deliver on our promises to customers in this country, we need American workers to bring products to American customers. When customers shop at Amazon, they help create jobs in their local communities, ”he says.
He adds that Amazon has hired an additional 175,000 employees during the coronavirus pandemic, including many who have been laid off by other jobs.
Bezos contains personal information about his life before becoming a billionaire and how he was raised by a young mother and adoptive father of a Cuban immigrant.
"It is no accident that Amazon was born in this country," he says.
"We promote entrepreneurs and start-ups with a stable rule of law, the best university system in the world, freedom of democracy and a deeply accepted culture of taking risks."
Zuckerberg also touched on the American success story, arguing that Facebook had grown into a billion dollar business in the American way, starting with nothing and providing products that people thought were valuable.
& # 39; Although people around the world use our products, Facebook is a proud American company. We believe in the values - democracy, competition, inclusion and freedom of expression – on which the American economy is built, ”he says.
He also argues that Facebook faces intense competition from major competitors, adding: “We are competing against the companies that appear at this hearing, as well as many others that sell advertising and connect people. We also compete globally, also against companies that have access to markets in which we are not active. & # 39;
Bezos plans to highlight Amazon's contribution to the economy and to invest $ 270 billion in the United States over the past decade
It underlines Amazon's commitment to bringing its products to customers – jobs cannot be outsourced "to China or anywhere else".
Zuckerberg will also defend Facebook's acquisitions, saying that the social media platform has helped companies like WhatsApp and Instagram grow. Both belong to Facebook.
He plans to remind legislators of the competitive threat that US technology companies from China are facing, and says the Asian country is building its own version of the Internet that focuses on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries".
The billionaire Tech Exec also renewed Facebook's call for government regulation in areas such as harmful social media content, voting integrity, and privacy – areas where the company has been criticized.
In his pre-prepared comments released prior to the hearing, Pichai argued that the search – which Google dominates most metrics – was more extensive than just typing in Google and said he was still concerned about being relevant, when people turn to Twitter, Pinterest or other websites for information.
& # 39; We know that Google’s continued success is not guaranteed. Google is active in competitive and dynamic global markets where prices are free or falling and products are constantly improving, ”said Pichai.
Zuckerberg again called for government regulation in areas such as harmful social media content, election integrity, and data protection – areas where the company has been criticized
Apple's Tim Cook will tell the committee that the company has no dominant market share in any market in which we do business. This applies not only to the iPhone, but to every product category. & # 39;
He will argue that the company's commissions are comparable or lower than the commissions calculated by the majority of our competitors. And they are well below the 50 to 70 percent that software developers paid to distribute their work before we launched the App Store. & # 39;
The high-profile hearing was originally scheduled for Monday, but has been postponed because representative John Lewis will be in the state by Wednesday.
As part of its comprehensive investigation, the panel will ask companies whether they are actively working to harm and eliminate smaller competitors without always making the best decisions for their customers.
This will be a pivotal moment for the growing backlash against big tech in the U.S. and is likely to trigger a clash between executives and skeptical legislators from both parties.
However, many tech lobbying groups and industry critics say the hearing is unlikely to address key antitrust issues or bring new information to the table.
"There isn't much that tech CEOs can do to appease anti-tech critics. This hearing isn't about finding the truth, it's about creating news," said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of the NetChoice industry lobby group.
The anti-trust subcommittee is expected to publish a report on the company's investigation within a few weeks.
The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the four major technology platforms. Facebook and Amazon are also under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, while U.S. attorneys general are concerned with Google and Facebook.