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Major Technology Company CEOs to Testify Before Congress

07/01/2020 | 09:30pm

By Ryan Tracy

WASHINGTON -- The chief executives of Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google have agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee as it investigates their power over the digital marketplace, according to a spokeswoman for the committee.

The hearing is planned for later this month, the spokeswoman said. Representatives of the companies either declined to comment or didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The technology journalist Kara Swisher earlier reported on plans for the hearing.

The bipartisan House investigation is looking at whether U.S. antitrust laws need to be updated to curb what some lawmakers perceive as excessive power wielded by tech giants over markets such as online advertising, online retail and smartphone apps.

The testimony would be a first for Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, who had previously agreed to testify.

The others -- Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai -- have all appeared before Congress in the past.

The House panel has been gathering information about large tech companies for about a year, and last September it demanded emails from the CEOs and other top executives of the firms, as well as other documents.

The companies have since turned over reams of documents, though lawmakers have in recent months been demanding more as well as commitments for public testimony from the firms' top brass.

Lawmakers are working on a report that could include policy recommendations to address a perceived lack of competition or monopolistic behavior in technology markets. The report's publication is expected to follow the CEO hearing, but it doesn't appear likely Congress will pass a law on the matter this year.

More pressing for the companies are ongoing antitrust inquiries by the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general. Of those, the probe of Google appears to be the most advanced, with the government potentially suing the company later this year for alleged antitrust violations, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported.

Write to Ryan Tracy at ryan.tracy@wsj.com

 

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