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Tech CEOs testify before House Judiciary Committee

The leaders of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook will testify following an investigation by lawmakers into anti-competitive business practices.

The leaders of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook will testify following an investigation by lawmakers into anti-competitive business practices.

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The chief executives of some of the world’s biggest technology companies will testify before Congress on Wednesday following a year-long investigation by lawmakers into possible anti-competitive business practices.

The CEOs — Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Sundar Pichai of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook — are expected to assert individually and collectively that their businesses are competitive within their industry and don’t aren’t stifling new entrants in the marketplace.

Cook is expected to answer questions about Apple’s control over its hardware and software ecosystem as well as its policies concerning the iOS and Mac app stores. The company has been accused of enforcing strict rules and guidelines and demanding a 30 percent cut of revenue from developers while quietly working on competing software that mimics successful third-party applications.

Investigations against Google and Facebook are likely to focus on its dominance in the digital advertising space — together, both companies command between 70 and 90 percent of the online ad market. Facebook leverages its dominance as the world’s leading social media platform to draw eyeballs toward its hyper-focused ads, while Google has dominated in display and search ads thanks to its position as being the world’s biggest search engine coupled with its browser and video offerings (Google Chrome and YouTube, respectively).

Like Apple, Facebook’s Zuckerberg is expected to answer questions about the company’s decision to acquire smaller competitors like Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus while designing similar features when it can’t acquire other players in the market. One such feature, Facebook and Instagram Stories, was reportedly launched after the social media giant’s unsuccessful attempt to buy Snapchat.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Bezos is expected to respond to claims that the e-commerce giant improperly exerts its dominance to control third-party retailers who sell goods through its massive website and associated apps. Like Apple and Facebook, the company has been accused of offering competing products. Bezos is likely to argue that his company occupies a relatively small space in the overall retail world and that third-party sellers on the platform generate more revenue than Amazon’s own offerings.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing is expected to start shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Pacific Time).

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).