On Wednesday, CEOs from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google spent five hours testifying (virtually due to COVID-19) at a House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing. Executives faced questions over a wide array of issues including fair competition, the digital marketplace, influence on public opinion, political agendas, and privacy.
Overall, Apple fared well, Amazon was more neutral, while Google and Facebook had a longer day.
• Winner, Apple: Apple received 15 questions, about 20% of all questions asked. Cook fielded questions related to the App Store take rate along with policies regulating app availability. Beyond the number of questions, the topics for Tim Cook largely orbited around the App Store, which we estimate accounts for about 5% of Apple revenue. By comparison, the other tech companies fielded questions that impacted the majority of their revenue.
• Neutral, Amazon: Amazon received 18 questions, about 24% of all questions asked. Bezos fielded questions regarding third-party data collection practices, preferential treatment for Amazon goods, and policing counterfeit goods.
• Loser, Facebook: Facebook received 21 questions, about 28% of all questions asked. Zuckerberg fielded questions regarding Facebook’s role in free speech, anti-competitive M&A philosophy, product innovation, and social justice.
• Loser, Google: Google received 22 questions, about 29% of all questions asked. Pichai fielded questions regarding search result rankings, suppression of conservative views, and Google’s corporate values, and Google’s ad network.
MacDailyNews Take: Of all four at the antitrust hearing, Apple CEO Cook and Amazon’s Bezos seemed most comfortable while Alphabet (Google)’s Pichai looked out of his depth.