In response to questions from a congressional committee, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon.com, Apple, and Facebook defended their practices and declined to answer some questions. The tech firms have been a symbol of the dynamism of the American economy for a long time and have seen their reputations impacted by claims that they abused their top market positions as well as privacy lapses, Reuters reported.
The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee had sent the questions as part of its antitrust probe of the four companies and released the answers on Tuesday. Facebook, in one case, acknowledged cutting off some third-party apps from its platform for duplicating core functions like Vine. The tech company, however, per Reuters offered “limited answers” to other queries on the way it handled potential rivals.
Google, for its responses, denied having favor for its own offerings over rivals in internet browsers, search and video. The company reportedly pointed out that “the vast majority” of clicks after a search on Google go to non-Google websites and that its word processing, as well as analytics tools, are designed to work with all browsers and not only Chrome. It also noted that its results from YouTube are not provided with more weight than competitors.
Apple replied to Judiciary Committee queries in regards its App Store commissions and its browsers while it addressed other matters that were reportedly mostly generally known. Also, Amazon noted that it utilizes aggregated information from third-party marketplace merchants for “business purposes” but denied tapping into the information to roll out, price or source private-label items.
In separate news, Big Tech is under siege about its failure to respect users’ privacy as the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee expressed frustration over the companies’ many acquisitions. At a hearing of the antitrust subcommittee on Wednesday, head Makan Delrahim said they were focusing on how personalized advertising transactions work.
Delrahim noted, “By understanding these competitive dynamics, we can understand how the market leaders have monopoly power, how they exercise that monopoly power and whether the source of that power is for merit-based competition or the source of that power is exclusionary.”