Antitrust hearing: Zuck gets grilled and Bezos forgets to take himself off mute

Yesterday, the US Congress held an antitrust hearing in which it questioned four big tech companies; Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The point of the hearing was to assess whether these companies have a relative monopoly over their respected industries and whether they’re in breach of US antitrust laws.

Google, for example, was grilled by congresspeople on the fact that it has very little competition in both the search engine and ad marketplace industries. The tech giant was also criticised for promoting its own content over competitors in search results. You’ve never had Google direct you to use Waze over Google Maps, have you?.

Jeff Bezos at the antitrust congressional hearing

US Congress held a hearing to interrogate the CEOs of four tech giants about allegedly unfair, monopolistic practices the companies have been entering.

Google’s Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Apple’s Tim Cook all responded to questions on whether their companies are too big and powerful, and how they use their size and data to crush competitors.

Surprisingly Bill Gates and Microsoft were not invited despite being the original monopolistic tech giant, found to be guilty of breaching antitrust laws back in 1998.

Amazon’s approach to pricing its own products against competitors on its marketplace came under fire, as well as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. Emails acquired by the House Judiciary Committee showed Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg view Instagram as a threat and in turn bought the company to ensure they didn’t have to compete with it.

As we have seen in previous hearings with big tech CEOs, things often got sidetracked, this time in the form of Republican Congressmen continually grilling The Zuck on why Facebook is apparently censoring conservatives, to which Congressman Jamie Raskin pointed out “If Facebook is trying to suppress conservative speech, they’re doing a terrible job at it.

Jeff Bezos also forgot to take himself off mute when answering a question, so next time you suffer that embarrassment in a work Zoom meeting, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Overall, there was a lot of talk of monopolistic practices and antitrust laws, but it’s yet to be seen whether this hearing will lead to any real change when it comes to the power of these companies. That will be determined by the amount of legislative change that comes about as a result of the hearing.