The CEO’s of Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook were questioned via video call by the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. Now that the dust has settled, did anyone come out looking better or worse for wear?
Winner: “With all due respect congressman…”
Very rarely, if ever, were four of the richest men on the planet lobbed a softball question over the plate. More often the tech CEO panel tried to make contact on questions with a ferocious amount of right (or left) spin attached.
In response to the verbal onslaught all CEO’s brought out some version of, “With all due respect congressman,” followed by:
A) I disagree with you
B) I disagree with the premise of your question
Unfortunately due to the time constraints of the hearing and the unwillingness to give the CEO’s any room to successfully maneuver, rarely did we get a chance to actually hear where the disagreement laid.
Loser: General digital competency
The most painful part of the hearings for me personally were the cringe inducing moments like when the Sundar Pichai from Google had to explain to a congressmen that Gmail has no way of knowing that his father is a family member and therefore shouldn’t receive his son’s congressional emails in a spam folder.
Other highlights included Pichai reminding everyone that Google search is built on algorithms and not people, Mark Zuckerberg trying to convince a congressmen that Facebook has more (not less) competition than when it first started, and everyone reminding us all that we can actually opt out of sharing our data with tech companies.
Technology can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be this hard folks.
Winner: Jeff Bezos’s background
While I wasn’t expecting any virtual backgrounds, the home office setups of four of the richest men in the world were still disappointing.
The lone exception? The billionaire himself, Jeff Bezos.
Unlike his bland background counterparts, Bezos provided some nice visual contrast and a bookcase with intriguing knickknacks.
Did Jeff personally buy anything we see in the background? Probably not.
Is it still pretty to look at? Yes.
Speaking of Jeff, Amazon received ire from both sides of the political aisle early and often during the antitrust hearing for their treatment of third-party sellers.
From undercutting competitors to blocking sellers, stealing proprietary information and more, congressmen threw the whole kitchen sink at Amazon.
Did anything stick? Only time will tell but in terms of potentially violating antitrust laws, Amazon appears most at risk after this most recent hearing.