back to article At historic Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google CEOs hearing, congressmen ramble, congresswomen home in on tech market abuse

For six hours on Wednesday, the Western world's most powerful tech CEOs – whose businesses have become household names and touch every part of our daily digital lives – were grilled by US lawmakers regarding their market dominance. The hearing was supposed to be a closing chapter in what has been a long-running probe into …

  1. TheRealRoland
    Facepalm

    Biggest funny though...

    When Zuck was asked why Trump Jr. was blocked on Twitter.

    1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

      Re: Biggest funny though...

      That Zucked Big Time.

  2. MrNigel

    Anyone remember the Baby Bells?

    I worked for AT&T in the 80's when it was broken up into the regional USA Baby Bells. Very successful as they reaped the profits from the existing network infrastructure, but 30 years of mergers have resulted in them once again being known as AT&T. What comes around, goes around - a bit like jeans.....

    1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

      Re: Anyone remember the Baby Bells?

      At its most basic, no matter how you bust it up, network effects will recreate the monopolies. What to do to prevent that, that is the question. Eternal vigilence, except when you do that, regulatory capture rears its ugly head. Really, you'd have to shut down the revolving doors, including Congress and the Executive, and good luck with that!

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Anyone remember the Baby Bells?

      On one hand Google and others are being attacked but the USA is allowing Mega Mergers to happen and then the merged company uses bribes and political pressure to get out the conditions of the merge.

      AT&T definitely is doing whatever the fuck it wants, so does Comcast.

  3. JDPower

    Has Zuck been tested for alzheimers, he seems unable to remember ANYTHING

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Alien

      Positronic brain cascade anomaly.

    2. John70

      Facebook

      Maybe using Facebook has affected his memory.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Zuck using Facebook?

        Any reasonably intelligent dealer knows better than to sample the product. Are you suggesting Zuck is not reasonably Intelligent?

    3. 9Rune5 Silver badge

      In Zuck's defence: When you've screwed over a few thousand competitors, it becomes increasingly difficult to recall specific instances of having done so.

    4. dave 81

      Reptilian brains are just not good at memory.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        But he has the +3 Reptilian Defence Cap on. Prevents the brain from overheating in the presence of Upright Monkeys by translating everything as, "I do not know the answer to that question".

  4. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

    Since some time now I am extremely skeptical of EVERYTHING that comes out of the US, but this reporter does EXCELLENT reporting.

  5. Maximum Delfango Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    An excellent summary, and excellent reporting...

    Thank you. The closing sentence was particularly pithy.

    Please keep watching!

    It'll be particularly interesting (and sad) to see how much our mainstream media misunderstands all of this.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course nothing will happen at the congressional level none of them want to risk the donations and lobbyist dollars they get from these companies, and Republicans aren't fond of anti-trust laws to begin with. No one in congress will admit that their tendency to make policy at the behest of monied special interests is at least part of the problem, but sadly the kids run the candy shop.

    They rubber stamp every merger and impose time limited conditions that do nothing long term.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thank god for the EU, did I really say that ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Possibly, hopefully their remedy isn't another Windows N or just more fines.

  7. Qarumba

    Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

    The quality of journalism here is appalling. All Republican men asked stupid questions and all Democrat women asked sensible questions. Sounds very much like an opinion piece rather than unbiased journalism. Clearly this journalist should take up interior design as a career as that's what he seems to have a real interest in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      Classic Keiron and his old fashioned soft bigotry of low expectations chivalry.

      1. Paul 195

        Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

        Classic "anonymous coward" can't accept that some women are more competent than some men.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

          Totally happy with that, but in the reverse situation it wouldn't be mentioned. Which at least is good, because demographics are ridiculous to point out.

          The problem is it's just silly pandering, because, who cares? What if all the good questions were asked by people with brown hair, over who were under 1.8m tall? What's happened to your brain that this normal logic is seen as biased? When it's the other way round?

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      He didn't actually mention party, apart from when quoting specific congress critters. Are you saying that Debbie Lesko and Martha Roby asked stupid questions?

      1. ratfox Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

        Looks like preconceived opinions are more important than actually reading the article

    3. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      Qarumba, I assume you are a man. Because what was said was that all the stupid questions came from men, and all the women asked sensible questions. Parties were not mentioned. So from your attention to detail and inability to restate simple facts without turning them upside down, most likely a man.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

        The party affiliation was noted in every instance a congress-person was named, idiot.

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

          True, however you will also notice split between stupid and meaningful questions was along gender lines, not party lines. Thus party affiliation didn't seem to affect question relevance.

    4. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      You should totally cancel your subscription.

    5. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      As others have noted, the cleverness divide was credited to XX Vs XY genes. But, the Congress critters affiliation was also given and the examples given also clearly show a party divide. However, if you want to make a claim for bias in the article, it would be helpful if you could provide counter examples to back up your hypothesis instead of just ranting.

      Saying that, both the party and sex divide stuck out to me, too. But equally this seems to be mirrored in all reporting by "mainstream media" of what Congress does right now. Perhaps it is also representative? I'm seeing a lot of very bright, opinionated and generally decent women members of Congress calling out a lot of BS spouted by the older white males in the room who generally lean to the right. I wholeheartedly applaud then, but would also hope that the media will call them out when they do a stupid (eg when the lady hoped that DJT had learned his lesson from the impeachment trial, rather than voting to impeach)

      1. Flak

        Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

        Causation vs. correlation

        Correlation, me thinks...

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

          Agreed, although the democrats have more women than the republicans do, too

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

        I wonder how things might be perceived if the media stopped mention which party a politician was from, just report the place/area/state the represent? I get the impression many people in the US automatically agree or disagree with a politician they've never heard of before purely based on that D or R in front of their name/state. Of course, it'll never happen because ALL of the media, mainstream or otherwise, is skewed towards D or R themselves.

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

          As this silly article demonstrates, tribalism is so ingrained and reflexive now in political reporting that there's very little room for actual thoughtful statements.

    6. Paul 195
      Mushroom

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      He specifically said that the people grandstanding, asking unfocused or irrelevant questions were men. He said that the women present had done their homework and stayed on topic. You didn't read the article properly and are getting cross about something that didn't happen. I call "grandstanding".

    7. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      Thing is every person was named and their question described. You came to the conclusion and didn't like the answer.

    8. veti Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      If you don't like what your representative is doing, vote them out. That's the simple correct remedy regardless of party or sex.

      As for the report, perhaps you can point out specific instances of questions or participants that you think have been misrepresented?

    9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Only Jeff bothered to find an interesting room for the video-chat hearing ...

      "All Republican men asked stupid questions and all Democrat women asked sensible questions."

      He only specified gender, not party affiliations. You chose to add that. Any particular reason why?

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    The biggest losers were the people putting the questions

    Keeping on interrupting an answer shows that you don't give a toss about what is being said. You have already made up your mind and everything else is for a soundbite to air on the evening news in your hometown.

    What a waste of time and money... apart from the money spent on lawyers and consultants. Tax deductible no doubt!

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: The biggest losers were the people putting the questions

      equally, the questioner has 5 minutes that is reigidly enforced. If the respondent doesn't want to answer the question and comes up with nearly 5 mins of homespun-bs, are you ok with that? Once it's clear they won't answer the question, the questioner moves on. The same interview technique happens everywhere - ask a polititian a question, that ostensibly has a yes or no answer, even allowing for a little bit of background info to clarify, and they'll invariably try to answer a different question that they're happy to answer, using the pivot technique. Why should that be given airtime?

      1. ST Silver badge

        Re: The biggest losers were the people putting the questions

        > Why should that be given airtime?

        Rule #1 for CEO's testifying live before Congress: Never answer the question.

        It's given airtime because CEO's should be afforded the opportunity to answer questions. The fact that they don't is their choice.

        Absent relevant input, Congress is now free to legislate any which way it wants. And that's the part that we never get to see. It involves behind-closed-doors lobbying, influence peddling and campaign financing.

        The results are what we all know them to be.

  9. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    speaking as an internal competitor can I just say thank you for your endurance.

  10. steelpillow Silver badge
    Pint

    We watched six hours of congressional hearings so you didn’t have to

    Icons all round

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Caption was awesome

    "Facebook's Lt Cmdr All Your Data" - pure gold.

  12. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Worth it

    I found the 5h was worth it and this article is much to the point.

  13. steelpillow Silver badge
    Trollface

    Sex(ism) and the Shitty

    How dare a Vulture big up the little ladies' brainpower and belittle the Real Men?

    It hardly seems worth asking why all the CEOs were Real Men too and equally dismal in their performances?

    Nor whether their fellow Real Men in Congress felt that business is business, profit is profit, who gives a shit, but here is an opportunity to make an election pitch to some of the richest men in the world; ffs I must not rock the boat?

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Why is congress asking questions?

    They are just as guilty as the tech guys companies. They passed the laws the regulate these companies, and are lobbied by these companies with lots of cash or something. Seems like a Grand Illusion to me...

  15. jdough1

    perfect

    Bloviate...perfect word to describe Congress

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: perfect

      What a James Bond enemy does?

  16. Exrugbyman38

    Market Abuse

    I wonder if any/many of the congressmen/women remember Kodak.

    I worked at Kodak in the UK and because we were a monopoly (and following a number of anti-trust actions in the US) Kodak were not allowed to abuse their market position.

    We were told to refer to "other manufacturers" and not "competitors".

    We were told to share our developments and our technology with other companies.

    The "other manufacturers" in Kodaks products and services were not limited by these restrictions and competed very aggressively with Kodak - resulting in Fuji and Agfa-Gaevert beating them in film and cameras, and the eventual Kodak bankruptcy in 2012.

    Beware Government breaking up some of the jewels in the US Crown!

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