ANTITRUST

Report: Tech Execs' Capitol Hill Hearing Has Been Postponed

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Lawmakers will have to wait to question the CEOs from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

The much-anticipated hearing scheduled before the House Judiciary Committee and the Antitrust Subcommittee on Monday (July 27) is expected to be postponed. A memorial service for the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) has been set for the same day, sources told CNBC.

The civil rights icon, who marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died last week at age 80.

Earlier this month, PYMNTS reported Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google, Apple’s Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos from Amazon are expected to face questions from lawmakers about the tech giants’ business practices. The panel has pressed for tougher antitrust rules and enforcement. It would be the first time the executives testified together in front of Congress.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, has asked each of the company’s executives to testify before completing its investigation and crafting reforms that would regulate the digital market.

Monday’s hearing was meant to cap a more than one year investigation into the four tech companies. After the executives make their appearance before Congress, lawmakers are expected to issue a report on their findings and propose legislation to update antitrust laws, bringing them up to date to manage digital marketplaces.

But the COVID-19 crisis has delayed the inquiry.

In January, Cicilline said he expected the report to be issued in April — but that timeline has been delayed.

The House is just one of a handful of agencies looking into the online conglomerates.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is nearing the end of its antitrust investigation of Google as it considers whether to charge the company.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is also probing Facebook and Amazon, while the nation’s state attorneys general have launched an inquiry into Facebook and Google.

Last fall, an antitrust investigation against Google was unveiled with the backing of nearly every state attorney general in the U.S. on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. The focus of that probe is on whether the company has abused its position in the online advertising market.

CNBC reported it’s unclear when the hearing will be rescheduled.

A special ceremony to honor Lewis is slated for Monday (July 27) at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The antitrust hearing had been scheduled at noon.

 

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