The heads of several of the largest tech companies in the US are heading to Congress to testify before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET. Scheduled to appear are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The hearing waspostponed two daysso that Washington could mourn John Lewis, a Democratic representative and civil rights leader, who died July 17 of pancreatic cancer.
At issue in the hearing is the subcommittee’s “ongoing investigation of competition in the digital marketplace.” All of the companies have remarkable influence over their markets, and each is reportedly facing a probe by the Justice Department or a coalition of state attorneys general.
“Since last June, the subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline said in a joint statement.
“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming. As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation.”
All four executives began laying out their respective antitrust defenses Tuesday evening, with each publishing their opening remarks. You canread the opening statements here.
With just hours to go until the hearing begins, here’s how you can follow along.
Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google to be grilled by Congress
When is the hearing?
The hearing is set for Wednesday, July 29, at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET. It’s unclear how long the proceedings will last.
Where is the hearing taking place?
The hearing is currently scheduled to take place at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.
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Will the executives appear in person?
In announcing the hearing, the accompanying press release noted that “under current House rules, witnesses and members are allowed to appear virtually.” Given the ongoing COVID-19pandemic, the executives are expected to appear remotely.
How can I watch?
You can watch it right here at the top of this story. In addition, the House subcommittee will stream the hearing on its YouTube channel, and C-SPAN will broadcast the hearing on its cable channel.
Why does it matter?
Regardless of what you do online, you’re probably affected by at least one or more of these companies in a fairly major way.
Apple and Google operate the two most popular mobile operating systems in the world and respectively controliOS’ Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play Store.
Apple has faced increasing antitrust concerns in recent months about its App Store practices, with theEuropean Union recently launching an investigation into the digital storeand theUS Department of Justice rumored to be weighing similar action.
Amazon has its namesake mammoth e-commerce presence and manufactures its own goods, some of which compete with those from other sellers in its online store. This potential additional data that Amazon has access to came under fire after a Wall Street Journal report detailed how Amazon used such data to help it set pricing, determine which features to incorporate and decide whether it was even worth getting involved in a product category.
After the Journal story came out, theHouse called for Bezos to testify.
Google and Facebook, in addition to running the country’s most popular search engine and social network, respectively, dominate the bulk of the digital advertising market.
Google has been underincreased antitrust scrutiny by states around the country over its ad business, with the DOJ expected to file its own lawsuit this summer.
Facebook revealed last year that the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into the company’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp and whether they were made to stifle competition. Beyond Zuckerberg appearing before Congress, he and COO Sheryl Sandbergcould be deposed by the FTC as part of its investigation.