US panel hearing to grill Bezos, Cook, Zuckerberg, Pichai ‘delayed’

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SAN FRANSISCO: The face-off between the US government and tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on July 27, where the CEOs Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai were to testify before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, is set to be postponed, the media reported on Friday.

According to a report in Protocol, the congressional hearing is likely to be postponed in the wake of the death of civil rights icon and Democratic Congressman John Lewis. “The hearing could be postponed in order to allow lawmakers to attend a service for Rep. John Lewis,” the report said, citing sources.

Lewis who became a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US Congressman died last week after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 80. The US House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee was to grill the tech CEOs over the dominance in their fields of e-retail, smartphone software, social media and Search.

“Since last June, the Subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI) said in a statement earlier this month.

“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming. As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation”. The panel announced its antitrust probe into the four tech giants in June last year.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg were also likely to depose before the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as part of a year-long probe into the company’s business practices next week. The FTC is preparing for a sworn legal testimony from them as part of its probe into whether the social networking giant has violated US antitrust laws, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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