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Big Tech to tangle with US lawmakers in antitrust showdown

WASHINGTON: The chief executives of four of the world's largest tech companies, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Alphabet's Google, plan to argue in a US congressional hearing on antitrust that they face intense competition from each other and from other rivals.

The testimony from Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook, which was released on Tuesday, portrays four chief executives who are looking over their shoulders at competitors who could render them obsolete.

Mr Pichai argues that search - which Google dominates by most metrics - is broader than just typing a query into Google, and says he remains concerned about being relevant as people turn to Twitter, Pinterest or other websites for information.

"We know Google's continued success is not guaranteed. Google operates in highly competitive and dynamic global markets, in which prices are free or falling, and products are constantly improving," Mr Pichai says in the prepared remarks.

TESTIFY

The four will testify to a panel of lawmakers investigating how their business practices and data gathering have hurt smaller rivals as they seek to retain their dominance, or expand.

In his remarks, Mr Bezos says Amazon occupies a small share of the overall retail market and competes with retailers like Walmart, which is twice its size.

He also says the coronavirus pandemic boosted e-commerce businesses across the spectrum and not just Amazon.

Mr Bezos also lays out how small sellers have succeeded on Amazon's third-party marketplace, a practice that has come under scrutiny from lawmakers.

In his prepared testimony, Mr Zuckerberg argues that Facebook competes against other companies appearing at the hearing and against others globally.

He will also defend Facebook's acquisitions by saying the social media platform helped companies like WhatsApp and Instagram grow. Both are owned by Facebook.

Apple's Tim Cook will tell the committee the company "does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business".

"That is not just true for iPhone, it is true for any product category," he says. - REUTERS

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