The pressure is on Tim Cook to do the right thing.
In context: During the last few weeks, the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee has been pushing tech giants that are under investigation on the possibility of having their chief executives testify in an upcoming hearing. The CEOs of Google, Amazon, and Facebook had concerns about the timing and the questions they may be asked but eventually caved in. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has yet to do the same, though it’s widely expected he will.
It’s no secret that Big Tech is under the lawmakers’ microscope for everything from privacy violations, abusing user data, and antitrust concerns that stem from the way these companies have come to dominate entire markets and prevent competitors from growing big enough to threaten that position.
For instance, the DOJ is interested in knowing more about Google’s search business and determine if the company is using its success in that area to push many other products and services at the expense of its competitors. In the case of Facebook, the FTC believes the social giant has been using controversial data policies to thwart potential rivals and decide which ones are worth buying.
According to a report from the Washington Post (which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) later confirmed by the New York Times, the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Amazon are willing to testify before Congress later this summer on antitrust concerns, but Apple has only signalled the intention to send a senior executive, with no word on whether Tim Cook would testify.
This would make him the only CEO that didn’t commit to participating in the hearing, even as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos all sent letters explicitly agreeing to testify as long as all others commit to do the same.
The hearing is organized by the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee which is led by David Cicilline, and will take place later this summer. Even if it happens online due to health concerns, it will draw a lot of attention as it’s probably the most important moment in the battle for regulating these tech giants.