Major technology CEOs will finally meet on Wednesday, July 29, at a hearing before the US House Committee. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon CEOs will testify among other things about antitrust issues before Congress.
This will be a historic event as Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos will try to defend their massive organizations at a public hearing. These CEOs will answer Congress to questions about their alleged anti-competitive business practices. The aggregate value of the companies representing these CEOs is approximately $ 4.7 trillion, while each of these CEOs is at least a billionaire, with Jeff Bezos’ net worth in excess of $ 180 billion.
The hearing will be an interesting one, as the last time Facebook and Google’s CEOs came to congress, it provided some funny moments that showed the legislators were insufficiently aware of the companies these executives represented.
The opening statements of all 4 CEOs are now available on the website of the US House Committee On The Judiciary. Here are some interesting excerpts from the various explanations of these public figures:
Tim Cook from Apple
Tim cooks talk about the iPhone and App Store in its statement and how Apple is a uniquely American company. He goes into detail about how the company only makes products that they can recommend to their family and friends. He also refers to the fierce competition in the smartphone market from Samsung, LG, Huawei and Google, among others, to prove his point that Apple is not dominant in any market. He also shares some interesting statistics about how the App Store is responsible for 1.9 million US jobs in all 50 states, and that it has helped facilitate half a trillion dollars in e-commerce worldwide. He also explains that most app developers keep 100% of their earnings, while others who have to pay 15% or 30% commission to Apple pay much less than what they had to do before the App Store launched.
Mark Zuckerburg from Facebook
Mark Zuckerburg’s pick up line delves deep into the company’s American values, the history of innovation, the use of the social welfare platform, social responsibility and role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark’s statement even emphasizes America vs China to get his point across.
While people around the world use our products, Facebook is a proud American company. We believe in values - democracy, competition, inclusion and free speech – on which the American economy is built. Many other technology companies share these values, but there is no guarantee that our values will win. For example, China is building its own version of the Internet, focusing on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries. As Congress and other stakeholders reflect on how antitrust laws support competition in the U.S., I think it’s important to maintain the core values of openness and fairness that have made the U.S. digital economy a force for empowerment and opportunity, here and about worldwide.
Mark’s statement talks about competition, but not when he talks about WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which are dominant players in their markets, along with Facebook.
Jeff Bezos from Amazon
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be at the conference for the first time, compared to other CEOs who have previously done so. Bezos’ pick up line begins with his personal history before discussing competition from, among others, Walmart, Amazon’s global retail market share and new industry competitors.
The global retail market in which we compete is remarkably large and exceptionally competitive. Amazon accounts for less than 1% of the global $ 25 trillion retail market and less than 4% of the U.S. retail trade.Unlike winner industries, there is room for many winners in retail. For example, more than 80 retailers in the U.S. alone earn more than $ 1 billion in annual revenue. Like any retailer, we know that the success of our store depends entirely on the satisfaction of customers with their experience in our store. Every day, Amazon takes on big established players like Target, Costco, Kroger and of course Walmart – a company more than five times the size of Amazon. And while we’ve always focused on creating a great customer experience for retail sales done primarily online, sales started online are now an even bigger growth area for other stores. Walmart online sales grew 74% in the first quarter. And customers are increasingly flocking to services invented by other stores that Amazon still can’t match the scale of other big companies like curbside pickup and in-store returns. The COVID-19 pandemic has put these trends, which have been growing for years, in the spotlight. In recent months, online curb retrieval has increased by more than 200%, partly due to concerns over COVID19. We’re also facing new competition from Shopify and Instacart, among others – companies that traditionally allow brick-and-mortar stores to set up a full online store almost immediately and deliver products directly to customers in new and innovative ways – and a growing list of omnichannel business models.
According to Bezos, Amazon has invested $ 270 billion in the United States over the past decade and created 2.2 million jobs worldwide. 1.7 million small and medium businesses rely on Amazon to make money.
Sundar Pichai of Alphabet
Sundar Pichai’s pick up line talks about the company’s innovative products over the years, including Chrome, Android, G Suite, YouTube, Maps and more. He makes an important point that Google’s free, but ad-supported, services provide value to thousands of dollars every year.
Regarding competition, he calls the ever-changing landscape:
Just as American leadership is not inevitable in these areas, we know that Google’s continued success is not guaranteed. Google operates in highly competitive and dynamic global markets, where prices are free or falling, and products are constantly improving. Today’s competitive landscape is nothing like 5 years ago, let alone 21 years ago, when Google launched its first product, Google Search.
Sundar also says that search has far more competition than ever before.
For example, people have more ways to search for information than ever before – and this is increasingly happening outside the context of a search engine only. Often the answer is just a click or an app away: you can ask Alexa a question from your kitchen; read your news on Twitter; ask friends for information via WhatsApp; and receive recommendations on Snapchat or Pinterest. When looking for products online, you may visit Amazon, eBay, Walmart, or one of a number of ecommerce providers, where most questions about online shopping arise. Likewise, in areas like travel and real estate, Google faces stiff competition for searches from many companies that are experts in these areas.
There will be a livestream on YouTube (player embedded below) for the historic hearing. Make sure to tune in at noon ET.