Big tech antitrust probe report from Congress likely by early Autumn

Tech Titans

A much-anticipated deep dive into antitrust allegations against four of the largest US tech companies and recommendations on how to tame their power could be released by early autumn from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s panel, senior committee aides have said.

KEY POINTS:

  • Report from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee into antitrust allegations could be released by early autumn
  • The panel will question the CEO’s of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple as part of the investigation

The committee has received 1.3 million documents from the companies so far, they said in a call with reporters.

The panel will question the CEO’s of Facebook, Amazon.com, Google parent Alphabet and Apple as part of its investigation into whether ‘big tech’ business practices hurt smaller rivals and negatively impact the market. The hearing was supposed to be held on the 27th of July but has now been delayed.

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Yesterday, journalists reported that the Chief Executives will defend themselves by saying their companies face intense competition from around the world and by pushing back against claims they are dominant.

All four companies will testify voluntarily and no subpoenas have been issued, the committee aides said.

In May, David Cicilline, the chair of the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, demanded Jeff Bezos testify and threatened Amazon with a subpoena, after reports surfaced Amazon employees tapped data from small sellers in the company’s marketplace to make decisions about the online retailer launching its own competing products, despite telling lawmakers it did not engage in such practices.

Addressing questions about the format of the high-profile hearing, the aides said, there will be a single panel with all four CEO’s attending virtually. Members of the subcommittee led by Cicilline, however, will attend either in person or online.

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“The number of rounds of questioning is up to the discretion of the chair,” said one committee aide.

Asked if the hearing would uncover new information, a senior aide said that despite the risk of companies not always answering questions fully it was important to hear from decision makers.

“This is not like a normal oversight hearing, where we hear from the CEO’s and move on.”

Initial reporting via our content partners at Reuters. Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington. Editing by Chris Sanders and David Gregorio.

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