Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google have been summoned to Capitol Hill to testify next week as part of House lawmakers’ wide-ranging investigation into big tech companies and the threats they may pose to competition.
The hearing, scheduled for July 16 in front of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee that deals with antitrust, will bring simmering Democratic and Republican frustrations with Silicon Valley into public view, potentially setting the stage for further scrutiny — or regulation — of an industry that has long insisted that its size doesn’t harm rivals or consumers.
Scheduled to testify are Kyle Andeer, Apple’s vice president for corporate law and chief compliance officer; Nate Sutton, an associate general counsel at Amazon; Matt Perault, the head of global policy development at Facebook; and Adam Cohen, the director of economic policy at Google.
The hearing — confirmed by aides to Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), the panel’s chairman — comes weeks after federal competition regulators divvied up responsibilities for the four tech giants in a move that could presage formal federal probes into Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and their business practices.
Amazon confirmed its attendance, but declined further comment. Apple, Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
House lawmakers embarked on their sweeping antitrust investigation of Silicon Valley in June, expressing rare bipartisan alarm then that “dominant, unregulated platforms have extraordinary power over commerce, communication and information online.” They pledged to review not only Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google but also the government’s own competition laws and enforcement agencies, part of an effort to determine if the industry had come to wield dangerous “monopoly power” without repercussion.
The investigation adds to Silicon Valley’s widening woes in Washington, where Democrats and Republicans alike have found rare alignment in criticizing big tech. Last week, President Trump launched his latest salvo against the industry, suggesting the U.S. government “should be suing Google and Facebook,” potentially on antitrust grounds. His Democratic foes vying for the White House in 2020 have sounded similar alarms: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) has called repeatedly for breaking up major tech companies and pledged she would apply a tougher hand to the industry if she’s elected president.