Tech CEOs testify at House hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple will face Congress Wednesday after a more than year-long anti-trust investigation. The hearing is the government’s most aggressive show against big tech since the pursuit to break up Microsoft more than two decades ago.

CEOs Tim Cook of Apple, Sundar Pichai of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jeff Bezos of Amazon will all testify virtually, facing accusations from Congress that the tech giants unfairly favor their own products in the digital marketplaces they operate.

This is the first hearing ever for Amazon, which controls nearly 40% of online sales in the U.S. Walmart, its closest competitor is just shy of 6%.

Nilay Patel with The Verge said, “When you go to Amazon, you ask for products. You search for it and amazon decides what to show you”

Facebook is the world’s largest social network and google processes 90% of all web searches globally. Both are facing concerns over their acquisitions and how the companies operate their massive advertising marketplaces.

Patel said, “Facebook and Google are effectively duopolies for ad tech.”

Apple’s app store is the only way app developers can access the massive iPad and iPhone customer base, with restrictions and fees from Apple.

Kara Swisher of Recode said, “The small companies coming up really need protection and they need protection from the government in order to thrive and create competitors”

That’s the aim of lawmakers, who plan to propose new anti-trust rules following the hearing. Ensuring fairness from the tech giants that control a vast amount of what we see and buy online.

The hearing will be closely watched for clues that could advance other antitrust cases against the tech companies.

The Federal Trade Commission is preparing to depose Facebook in its 13-month probe of the social network. The Justice Department may soon unveil a case against Google and an investigation into apple by state attorneys general also appears to be advancing.

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