The tech industry's biggest monopolists – Zuckerberg, Pichai, Bezos and Cook – will appear before Congress Wednesday

Tech’s four biggest companies are going on trialby Makena Kelly at The Verge:

The main purpose of Wednesday’s hearing is for [Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai], Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Apple’s Tim Cook to address the evidentiary record the committee has already prepared over the last 13 months, an intimidating number of documents that no tech CEO has reckoned with since Microsoft’s antitrust charges in the ‘90s. At the end of this probe, the committee intends to publish a report in the coming months detailing how the executives’ respective companies have avoided liability under current antitrust laws because those competition rules were never crafted with the tech industry’s behaviors in mind.

Ben Thompson’s and John Gruber’s Dithering podcast has raised a couple of interesting points on this issue in recent weeks:

  • It’s extraordinary that Microsoft, while still a powerful company, gets to sit these hearings out. Quite a change from 20 years ago!
  • The problem with the Apple App Store isn’t so much the fees, which is what Congress is focusing on. It’s that Apple, rather than the app vendor, owns the relationship with the customer.

Also, from the Verge article:

While Democrats push the antitrust case, Republicans have their own set of concerns and may try to veer Wednesday’s conversation toward content moderation and allegations of bias against conservatives. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sits on the subcommittee and has brandished himself as a prominent voice in the Republican fight against biased platform moderation

Of course the Republicans are doing that. Republicans love those paranoid white supremacist conspiracy fantasies.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner