Big Techs Backlash Is Just Starting – The New York Times

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Wednesdays five-plus-hour congressional probing of the bosses of Americas tech giants did not reveal a singular gotcha moment or smoking gun email. Weve heard many of these examples of Big Tech abuse before.

But the power of this hearing and others like it was the cumulative repetition of tales of abusive behavior, and evidence of the harm this has had on peoples lives.

The spectacle also showed that the impact of congressional investigations is the digging that happens when the C-SPAN cameras are turned off.

Worries about Americas tech stars have swirled for years. Its clear now that this isnt going away. In world capitals, courtrooms and among the public, we are wrestling with what it means for tech giants to have enormous influence on our lives, elections, economy and minds.

And while what happens to the future of Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook is anyones guess, it was clear from Wednesdays hearing that Congress was pointing the way for other branches of government to pick up the digging from here.

We saw on Wednesday old emails and texts from Mark Zuckerberg, worried about Facebook losing ground to Instagram and suggesting that buying competing apps is an effective way to take out the competition. The big deal here: Trying to reduce competition by purchasing a rival is a violation of antitrust law. (Zuckerberg said that Instagrams success wasnt assured when Facebook bought it.)

Representatives said that their interviews with former Amazon employees backed up news reports that the company used private data from its merchants to make its own version of their products.

The subcommittee discussed their conversations with companies that claimed Google funneled web searches to services it owned rather than to rivals like Yelp. Through company documents and questioning, members of Congress picked apart Apples stance that it treats all app developers the same.

My colleague Kevin Roose wrote that the tech bosses seemed to be taken off guard by the rigor and depth of the questions they faced.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are also investigating whether these companies abuse their power, and I bet they watched closely. The U.S. governments antitrust case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago was built, in part, on the emails of Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives discussing how they planned to kill upstart competitors.

Heres one more sign that the backlash against Big Tech has only just begun: The shouty tech critics in Congress and the tech bosses all seemed to agree that these four companies have a meaningful impact on many peoples lives.

The tech bosses focused on the good that comes from their companies size, reach and influence. A New York bakery finds customers by buying advertisements on Google. Merchants can thrive by selling their products or apps on Amazon or Apple.

The representatives pointed out examples of the dark side of Big Techs size, reach and influence. In the pin drop moment of the hearing, a House member played an audio recording of a book seller saying her family was struggling because of a change Amazon apparently made that dried up her sales there.

The subcommittee chairman said these tech powers can pick the winners and the losers. That might be stretching it. But both sides demonstrated that these four companies have a profound say in who wins or loses.

Lawmakers of all political stripes seemed uncomfortable with the knowledge that four companies have this much influence. Beyond the legal antitrust questions at issue, its this feeling of discomfort that makes it hard to imagine that nothing will change for these tech superpowers.

Wednesdays hearing was really two hearings. The Democrats mostly asked the four tech chief executives about ways their companies wielded their power and influence. Republican members largely asked about persistent concerns that Google and Facebook in particular censor right-leaning viewpoints or treat conservative figures unfairly.

Some Republican politicians complaints about political bias arent backed by credible evidence. Regardless, suspicion of bias is a thorny problem for these companies.

In a 2018 Pew Research survey, Americans who described themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning overwhelmingly said that they believed that tech companies censor online information for partisan reasons. (A smaller, but still majority, share of Democrats said that they believed this, too.) Since then, polling has shown a growing mistrust of tech companies, particularly among conservatives.

This doesnt seem to have hurt the tech companies businesses. In fact, some Republican members on Wednesday argued that even though people dont trust Big Tech, they have no choice but to continue using these services because these companies have so much influence. It was an effective way to connect bias concerns to investigations into tech company market power. (Yes, I said earlier this week not to pay attention to bias claims. But maybe pay attention a little?)

Even if allegations of bias dont cause the companies to lose customers, the loss of faith among a large share of Americans should worry them.

Its also a problem if the tech companies overcorrect. Facebook employees and critics have said fears of being accused of bias have made the company reluctant to crack down on people, including President Trump, who spread dangerous or inflammatory messages online. Its a fine line to walk.

The really important stuff from the Big Tech hearing: House plants and bookshelves. My colleague Mike Isaac rated the tech bosses choices of backgrounds for their webcast testimony. Mike gave Amazons Jeff Bezos, who sat in front of wooden shelves with a sprinkling of books and tchotchkes, a score of 8 out of 10 for his cool Pacific Northwest dad office vibes.

Example infinity of technology as a flawed virus surveillance: A Wall Street Journal technology columnist reviewed smart watches, internet-connected thermometers and other gizmos that say our heart rate readings or other bodily data can provide early warnings of coronavirus infections. Spoiler alert: Some of this stuff holds promise but needs further research, and we still need more laboratory virus testing.

If you feel like screaming when you watch TV: Rolling Stone has a hilarious and smart rage fest on why the video streaming services can be so infuriating to use.

Best wishes forever to this tiny rabbit peeking out of a canvas bag.

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else youd like us to explore. You can reach us at ontech@nytimes.com.

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Big Techs Backlash Is Just Starting - The New York Times

Busting Up Big Tech is Popular, But Here’s what the US May Lose – Defense One

The heads of Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon appeared before angry lawmakers Wednesday as Congress prepares to weigh new anti-monopoly regulations, including possibly breaking them up. Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg turned to a familiar argument, saying that breaking up the big tech companies would hurt U.S. competitiveness against China in developing new technologies and Americas ability to curb Chinese influence globally.

So are U.S. tech giants an asset to the U.S. in its competition with China or a hindrance?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai answered several questions about his companys loyalty to the United States by recounting its expanding work with the Defense Department. Ever more, he attempted to cast Google as an engine of U.S. innovation.

Our engineers are helping America remain a global leader in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, self driving cars and quantum computing, he said.

Zuckerberg contrasted between what he described as Facebooks American values and ideas with those of China. China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries, he said in his prepared testimony.

He is not alone in this view. Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation at the libertarian-leaning Internet Technology and Innovation Foundation, told Defense One, Breaking up U.S. tech firms would undercut American innovation. At a time when Chinese companies are growing more dominant in the global digital economy, U.S. policymakers should not hamstring successful tech companies.

Eric Schmidt, Googles former CEO who now chairs the Defense Innovation Board, has made similar statements, telling the Telegraph in May, Chinese companies are growing faster, they have higher valuations, and they have more users than their non-Chinese counterparts...Its very important to understand that there is a global competition around technology innovation, and China is a significant player and likely to remain so.

But not everyone agrees. David Segal, co-founder of the left-leaning group Demand Progress, took a categorically different view, telling Defense One, Far from stifling innovation, antitrust enforcement is necessary in order to enable it. He pointed to what he described as kill zones or areas of technology development that are too close to the products that the giants produce to attract venture capital.

Legal scholar Ganesh Sitaraman argues that conflating big tech with American innovation is part of the problem. Big tech, he says, is too intricately intertwined with China to be purely American.

The claim that big American tech companies are somehow an alternative to Chinese dominanceor, in the more extreme form, that they are competing with China on behalf of the United Statesis largely backwards he argues, in a January article for the Knight First Amendment Institute. Big techs integration with China thus supports the rise and export of digital authoritarianism; deepens economic dependence that can be used as leverage against the United States in future geopolitical moments; forces companies to self-censor and contort their preferences to serve Chinese censors and officials.

Lawmakers of both parties love to hate on big tech and its poster-child representatives, like those summoned to Wednesdays hearing. Conservatives routinely claim that Google is censoring their speech, a line they returned to repeatedly on Wednesday. Liberals argue that Facebook doesnt do a good enough job of calling out misinformation, especially if it might anger conservatives. Some observers worry that all of those resentments get in the way of a functional discussion about whether or not the companies are too big.

Im not confident that in the current environment you would see constructive solutions put forward that are not based on political retaliation, rather than a principled approach, said Mieke Eoyang, vice president for national security at think tank Third Way.

There is ample reason for lawmakers to be suspicious of how the big tech interacts with the Chinese government. A May report from London-based research firm Top10VPN shows that Amazon provides web services to Chinese companies on a Commerce Department sanctioned Entity list. Google has an AI research effort in China.

Facebook, which is effectively banned in the country, is arguably the least reliant on the Chinese market. Hong Kong-based TikTok is a major competitor to Facebook-owned Instagram. But that doesnt tell the whole story. Facebook is such a large gamer marketplace, it still makes money off of China from companies like Tencent that need Facebook's users to play their games.

From the Pentagons perspective, American tech giants do offer a unique technological resource, one that does produce innovation and that arguably would not exist if they were broken up. Consider the Pentagons JEDI cloud program. Smaller cloud providers complained that the programs requirements were tilted toward Amazon, the only company that many believed could meet them. Part of the reason that the JEDI contract came down to a race between Microsoft and Amazon (after Google pulled out) is because those are the companies with the largest cloud offerings, able to provide the highest level of security. It was only after visiting them that former Defense Secretary James Mattis realized that what Americans private big tech firms were doing with cloud computing was decades ahead of what the government was doing with smaller, patchwork capabilities. He also realized that cloud computing at enterprise scale was essential to real innovation in AI.

The size of that cloud capability and the amount of data available plays a big role in a companys ability to develop next-generation AI products. Googles compute power, and access to a massive dataset of online video footage via YouTube, was vital to the development of deep learning technologies. Facebooks compute power and its access to billions of biometric facial records pictures of faces allowed it to createunique facial recognition technology to rival the human brain.

These companies developed the worlds largest compute capabilities in order to become the worlds largest companies. Busting them up could eliminate something that doesnt exist anywhere else and actually is a driver for innovation, one that arguably requires more regulation and oversight but also that cant be replicated at a smaller scale.

The unique resource of big tech firms is what Congress is consideringin the context of these companies overall effects on the market, individuals, and tangled U.S. relations with China. How to do that? The answer is carefully and case by case. While Republicans and Democrats love to vilify big tech, these companies are very different from one another, even if they do have anti-competitive practices.

I think these companies are all differently situated based on their business models. So when it comes to discussions around breaking them up, the implications are all different, said Eoyang, as are the unintended consequences of doing so.

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Busting Up Big Tech is Popular, But Here's what the US May Lose - Defense One

When it comes to big tech, US government official incompetence is embarrassing and horrifying – AppleInsider

The hearing on big tech antitrust matters on Wednesday was an embarrassment, and not a single governmental official there had the ability, will, or both, to bring any of the CEOs on hand to task.

The very best you can say about Wednesday's hearing is that it was bipartisan. But you can only say that because Democrats and Republicans alike displayed equal ignorance, and favored their own political careers instead of doing the job they said they were there for.

Whether you think Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are shiny-clean saints, slightly murky figures, or outright criminal, it doesn't matter. If there's anything to get away with, they got away with it and that was it, that latest round was over with nobody but the tech CEOs scoring any points.

America originally took the basics of its legal system and its hearing procedures from the UK, where one of the authors of this editorial is from. In the UK, there is a weekly Prime Minister's Questions session, the PMQs, and it is lauded as among the greatest examples of democracy in action but only by the people involved. To the people, it is an embarrassment. Highly paid and in theory highly educated people act in it the same way schoolboys do in the yard.

And for the Americans on the staff, this was more of the same ignorance and posturing on the irrelevant that we've seen for the last 20 years. It was elected officials wrapping themselves in the flag, trying to score points for re-election campaigns. Instead of listening to answers, they'd cut off the answers, and keep reading what were pre-prepared statements in the form of the worst Jeopardy game show-like presentation possible.

Not one single person facing off against Tim Cook and the rest, did a good job and got a good answer. There was Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon who had specific questions about Amazon's alleged destruction of rival Diapers.com, but she was only able to make Jeff Bezos squirm until her time was up. And, that diapers.com example was from more than a decade ago.

But, at least Scanlon came armed with specifics and research. This hearing purportedly followed an investigation begun back in 2019 but most appeared to have been briefed for the first time on their way into the room.

More platform confusion on display belies bigger knowledge problems

As an AppleInsider reader, the difference between Twitter and Facebook is so obvious to you that it seems impossible anyone could get them mixed up. If you're not a user, though, it's all one big social media monolith and it's not your job to find out which is which.

But, knowing what the differences are in a hearing ostensibly about big tech power, it literally was the job of the committee to know the difference. You might hope that they would already know the difference between Twitter and Facebook, and that they would know what an app is. The fact that they didn't isn't shocking at this point, and the fact that they were incapable of finding out during this entire investigation is shameful.

At first, this seemed like it might be similar to the decision then-senator Steve King made when he tried to grill Google's Sundar Pichai about an iPhone issue. It might or might not have been technological ignorance, but it was certainly political maneuvering and it was playing to the crowd instead of trying to find the truth.

The representatives in this hearing did not know what they were asking either, and that is a clear abdication of responsibility. You and I can't pin Mark Zuckerberg up against the wall and get him to answer for years of Facebook's issues. This august body could, and have the power to do so and they just didn't.

Five minutes in government meetings is meaningless, no matter how many laps you take

After significant wrangling by both the committee and the tech CEOs, each committee member was granted what turned out to be three five-minute slots in round-robin and parliamentary fashion in which to ask questions. Obviously, that's inadequate. But, apparently if you give a politicians five minutes, they will take the five minutes. We counted about four minutes and ten seconds on the average per five-minute allocation, for the representatives themselves and their political agenda.

Even the ones who actually did ask questions instead of proselytizing, they tended to interrupt the answers in a handful of seconds. Sometimes that was right and necessary these four big tech people are not dumb and they know five minutes can be eaten up very quickly with some padding.

But most of the time, the interruptions were not to get back on topic or to delve or to pull a CEO up for talking nonsense and there was a fair amount of that nonsense, but discussions of all the CEOs portraying their companies as scrappy underdogs under constant threat is a topic for another day. Most of the time, a representative would interrupt an answer in order to ask their next pre-prepared question with no regard to the answer just given. Answers don't matter to them, being seen to ask your questions does.

Repeatedly, too, we had the outright offensive demand that the CEOs answer complex issues with just a yes or no. If you're allowed a complex answer, you can hide in the details but there's a chance you'll reveal the truth. With a yes or no, there isn't.

The only people who ever demand a yes or no, are ones who have no interest in the answer, or in the truth. They solely and exclusively care about how they look to their voters back home.

There used to be an office in the US designed to help with this, but it is long gone

In 1972, The United States Congress established the bipartisan Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). It was specifically established to educate and brief the House and Senate on complex scientific and technical issues of the day, and was instrumental in the early digital distribution of governmental documents to not just the feds, but to the public as well. It was governed by 12 members of Congress six Republicans and six Democrats and had a staff of 143 people, mostly scientists, with a smattering of support people.

It cost the federal government about $22 million per year in the early '90s. That's millions, not billions. It was dissolved as unnecessary and "wasteful" in 1995, with arguments saying that governmental officials were more than capable enough to understand and govern fairly on the issues and technologies of the day.

They weren't capable of doing that without the OTA then, and as the years have passed, this has only gotten worse, and the skeleton crew of mostly non-scientists doing this kind of work at the Government Accountability Office is underfunded and understaffed for the increasingly complex matters at hand. What isn't clear, is if this inability to govern on these matters without education is willful, or just incompetent.

Of course, it isn't clear how much the concept manned by a skeleton crew helps with the problem if that inability to deal with complex scientific or technological matters is willful. The European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) performs roughly the same tasks, with roughly the same manning, and it doesn't seem to help decisions there either.

Not the first time, and it won't be the last

At first glance, this seems like more of the same that we've come to expect from the US government when it comes to technology. But, this time they went too far. Wednesday's hearing was the least productive federal hearing we've had the misfortune to have to sit through in two full decades. And yes, this includes the supreme court case discussing live video streaming service Aereo that likened the service to a parking lot and a dry cleaner's shop, somehow.

You know that each of the four CEOs had a debriefing with their executive board after the hearing. You can bet that each one of them had a stiff drink and counted their lucky stars that it went the way it did.

As CEOs, they should be relieved. As Americans, they should be scared. The House of Judiciary correctly and properly identified a huge issue, and it spoke correctly of the importance of this hearing. But then, it destroyed its authority by presenting a circus of schoolyard children. And, that comparison probably isn't fair to the children.

Maybe the next hearing, or the one after that will be better. We're not expecting it, though.

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When it comes to big tech, US government official incompetence is embarrassing and horrifying - AppleInsider

Lawmakers argue that big tech stands to benefit from the pandemic and must be regulated – TechCrunch

In his opening statements, the chairman of Wednesdays historic tech hearing argued that regulating techs most dominant players is vital in the midst of the ongoing pandemic that has driven even more of American life online.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these corporations already stood out as titans in our economy, House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline said. In the wake of COVID-19, however, they are likely to emerge stronger and more powerful than ever before.

The argument that tech stands to benefit from the COVID-19 crisis is a smart one and a timely attack thats difficult to dispute. While many major companies in other industries are struggling, grappling with layoffs or filing for bankruptcy, many of techs largest companies stand to emerge from the economic storm largely unscathed if not better off.

In his own opening remarks, ranking member Jim Sensenbrenner also argued that because Americans are relying more on online companies than ever before, techs power must be examined in light of the pandemic.

That responsibility comes with increased scrutiny of your dominance in the market, Sensenbrenner said.

Its not the first warning about tech companies amassing more power in the throes of the coronavirus crisis. A handful of members of Congress have called attention to mergers planned during the pandemic, citing concerns about adequate scrutiny for deals that could make techs already huge companies even larger and more dominant.

In April, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) proposed the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act, which would freeze mergers during the crisis, calling out big tech specifically. The LEAST we should do is halt big mergers during COVID to slow the consolidation of sectors, Ocasio-Cortez said.

Cicilline also previously called for a freeze on mega-mergers and pushed for such a ban to be included in the economic stimulus package passed by Congress.

As hard as it is to believe, it is possible that our economy will emerge from this crisis even more concentrated and consolidated than before, Cicilline said. As American families shift more of their work, shopping and communication online, these giants stand to profit.

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Lawmakers argue that big tech stands to benefit from the pandemic and must be regulated - TechCrunch

Antitrust Showdown In Congress: Big Tech, Meet Big Government – Forbes

Theres a contradiction in the Trump, and by extension Republican, deregulatory agenda that could inadvertently threaten the recovery of an already wavering economy.

That aberration is the continued reflexive embrace of antitrust regulation, an original sin of the administrative state with vast, potentially destructive societal costs.

With antitrust intervention, politicians and bureaucrats do not merely push companies around; they also directly or indirectly dictate business models and can even inappropriately influence the trajectory of entire economic sectors in non-market directions.

A picture taken on August 28, 2019 shows the US multinational technology and Internet-related ... [+] services company Google logo (top L), US online store application Amazon (top C), US online social media and social networking service, Facebook (top R) and US multinational technology company Apple logo application (down C) displayed on a tablet in Lille. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP) (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

The big tech news this week is a hearing in the House Judiciary Committees Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law.

Called "Online Platforms and Market Power: Examining the Dominance of Amazon AMZN , Apple AAPL , Facebook, and Google, GOOGL " the hearing will feature the CEOs of each, appearing remotely: Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg, respectively. This hearing is the committees sixth in a series.

Its bad news when both parties favor economic regulatory intervention and thats the state were in now with antitrust. While international regulators and state attorneys general have their sights on these companies, all are targets of federal antitrust investigation by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission in the Trump administration. (Attorney General Bob Barr, separately testifying in Judiciary this week, is taking a lead role.)

In a joint statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said:

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. Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming. "

The subcommittee will ultimately issue a report based on more than a year of information gathering, but will likely downplay letters for the record and inconvenient testimony from antitrust skeptics. How do we know that? A headline on Drudge referred to an APPLEFACEBOOKAMAZONGOOGLE Reckoning. Other articles refer to the CEOs facing a "grilling."

The very notion of monopoly power in intangible code, in ones and zeros, seems perverse, though. And here we observe not one monopoly but four companies (other giants could have also been invited to testify) vigorously competing against one another in various ways. That would seem to exemplify competition rather than the stifling of it with which big tech stands accused.

The chief internal contradiction of antitrust is that it decries bigness and excess power but then urges that the biggest and most powerful entity of all the government wielding the life or death power over all the CEOs domains impose a subjective remedy.

And government enjoys that power not just in the present case, but enjoyed it in all those that came before, and will in all those interventions to come after. That is a truly awesome power.

So we go through this theater with the dominant firms of the day every so often (AT&T, IBM IBM , Microsof MSFT t). Google is accused of favoring its own content in search results, Apple of downlisting rival apps, Facebook (and non-invitee Twitter, too) of suppressing conservative speech. Other gripes will be aired.

If the companies are so bad and the claimed consumer harm the only condition that could justify intervention is real, the more honest approach of the grandstanders would simply be to directly forbid consumers from using any of these companies services. Consumers would surely thank Congress for its protection, right?

An antitrust subcommittee doing antitrust stuff is one thing; whats more striking is the degree to which Trump himself has energized and legitimized tech attacks, especially regarding issues like content moderation that will ride along at what is ostensibly an antitrust-centric hearing. (One GOP member wants the aforementioned Barr to investigate Facebooks Zuckerberg for allegedly lying about to Congress about anti-conservative bias in prior hearings.)

On the one hand, and consistent with the Trump administrations well-known and broad deregulatory agenda to energize business, the administration took early steps to cut merger review times overall, and to speed up bank merger approvals via internal streamlining at the Federal Reserve and at the Comptroller of the Currency.

But often, President Trump has threatened antitrust action against tech and telecom firms, a stance conflicting with that deregulatory agenda and an especially dangerous tinkering with the marketplace and peoples portfolios and 401(k)s in todays crisis-rocked world.

We could see it coming, though. As a candidate, Trump proclaimed, AT&T T is buying Time Warner, a deal that we will not approve in my administration because it is too much concentration of power in the hands of too few. We will look at breaking that deal up and other deals like it. The Justice Departments attempt to block the merger ultimately failed.

Similarly, Trump tweeted in 2018 thatComcast CMCSA may be violating antitrust laws. However, after mulling it over (such delays of business transactions themselves impose heavy regulatory costs, something Trump recognized with respect to infrastructure approvals during his July 2020 White House South Lawn deregulation celebration), the Justice Departmentultimately did not investigatethe Comcast-NBCUniversal alliance.

With respect to the big tech players in the hotseat now, the president said in 2018 that Google, Facebook, and Amazon may be in a very antitrust situation, and said he was in charge and looking at it. Even then, politicians and pundits across the political spectrum were calling for thebreakupof these companies. Forcible breakup calls for an even bigger entity to wield the axe, as noted; but one will not likely find that contradiction expressed in grillings.

Some Republicans wanted Twitter at the Judiciary hearing also. Trump fought bitterly earlier this year with that company and has on numerous occasions threatened to regulate social media. In May, he followed though by issuing an executive order targeting their alleged censorship.

The online speech debate and the antitrust debate are highly intertwined, and in addition to cutting big tech down to size, both the right and left want to change underlying rules that protect platforms from liability for user postings. This battle too will doubtlessly emerge at the hearing and continue thereafter.

While the Judiciary committee was conducting the months of investigations culminating in this weeks Super Bowl hearing, the administration was doing similarly. Back in early 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced a technology task force to assess tech sector antitrust violations and to go beyond current practice in scrutinizing transactions. In the wake of that, and in contrast to the administrations recognition of agency misuse of regulatory guidance documents elsewhere, the FTC is now in the process of drafting guidance on how the antitrust laws apply to the technology sector and defending its own role in policing it.

In other antitrust developments, this year, the FTC requested data from top tech companies on their business acquisitions over the last 10 years. The commission is also pondering an injunction against Facebooks procedures for interoperability across platforms, and is in the early stages of investigating Amazon, having started interviews in 2019 with businesses that sell on the site.

Still other signals point to a potentially expanding Trump administration antitrust agenda by the Department of Justice and FTC beyond big Internet tech firms. The FTC, for example, has been challenging an aquisition transaction in DNA sequencing.

While the DoJ and FTC did issue a Joint Antitrust Statement with respect to collaborative activities among firms during the pandemic, expedited advisory opinions still constitute playing Mother-May-I.

America may have some real troubles right now, but so-called monopoly power among competing firms in media and online sales and services are not threats to the country calling for coercive intervention from this unfortunate alliance of Democrats and Republicans.

The reality is that the infrastructure needed in tomorrows world of smart cities, autonomous vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence, and space travel and more will require firms of far larger scale than any that we today call big tech and fret over.

These giants of the future will likewise be competitive non-monopolies, unless government grants them monopoly power or license.

Having just celebrated years of regulatory cuts at the White House, now would be a good time for President Trump back off his counterproductive flirtations with one of the worst forms of economic intervention, antitrust regulation. Congress? Thats not so simple.

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Antitrust Showdown In Congress: Big Tech, Meet Big Government - Forbes

Lawmakers grill 4 Big Tech CEOs but don’t land many blows – The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) Congressional lawmakers finally got a chance to grill the CEOs of Big Tech over their dominance and allegations of monopolistic practices that stifle competition. But its unclear how much they advanced their goal of bringing some of the worlds largest companies to heel.

Invective flew Wednesday as legislators questioned Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg, Amazons Jeff Bezos, Googles Sundar Pichai and Apples Tim Cook at a hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. For the last year, that panel has probed the business practices of the Silicon Valley giants with an eye to determining if they need to be regulated more heavily or even broken up.

In nearly five hours of testimony and questioning, however, there were few startling revelations or striking confrontations. While the executives faced hostile questioning and frequent interruptions from lawmakers of both parties, little seemed to land more than glancing blows.

The CEOs testified via video to lawmakers, at times appearing together on the committee room display as tiny individual figures in a mostly empty array of squares. Most committee members were seated, masks on, in the hearing room in Washington.

The execs provided lots of data purporting to show how much competition they face and how valuable their innovation and essential services are to consumers. But they sometimes struggled to answer pointed questions about their business practices. They also confronted a range of other concerns about alleged political bias, their effect on U.S. democracy and their role in China.

The panels chairman, Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, said each platform controlled by Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple is a bottleneck for a key channel of distribution.

Whether they control access to information or to a marketplace, these platforms have the incentive and ability to exploit this power, he said. They can charge exorbitant fees, impose oppressive contracts, and extract valuable data from the people and businesses that rely on them.

Simply put: They have too much power.

The four CEOs command corporations whose products are woven into the fabric of everyday life, with millions or even billions of customers, and a combined market value greater than the entire German economy. One of them, Bezos, is the worlds richest individual; Zuckerberg is the fourth-ranked billionaire.

And they had a few rough moments. Pichai and Zuckerberg appeared discomfited when pressed about unsavory aspects of their companies businesses but got respites when their inquisitors ran out of time. Bezos also acknowledged that alleged misdeeds at Amazon such as reports that the company has used data generated by independent sellers on its platform to compete against them would be unacceptable if proved to be true.

Outside observers were able to draw radically different conclusions from the event. Richard Hamilton Jr., a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer, said that everyone on the committee seemed to be in agreement on the need for tougher regulation of all four companies an ominous sign, he said. But Stephen Beck, CEO of the management consulting firm cg42, said the tech companies and their brands emerged relatively unscathed.

In particular, he said, Cook was particularly polished and well prepared, enabling the Apple CEO to put on what Beck called a master class in terms of how to handle these situations. Cook drew less attention from lawmakers than did the other CEOs after arguing that Apple isnt dominant in any of its markets.

Among the toughest questions for Google and Amazon involved accusations that they used their dominant platforms to scoop up data about competitors in a way that gave them an unfair advantage.

Bezos, who was appearing before Congress for the first time, said he couldnt guarantee that the company had not accessed seller data to make competing products, an allegation that the company and its executives have previously denied.

We have a policy against using seller specific data to aid our private label business, Bezos said in a response to a question from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat. But I cant guarantee to you that that policy hasnt been violated.

Pichai deployed an old Washington trick appealing to the specific interests of legislators. In his opening remarks, he touted Googles value to mom-and-pop businesses in Bristol, Rhode Island, and Pewaukee, Wisconsin, which just happen to be located in the home districts of Cicilline and Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the panels senior Republican.

But the Google executive struggled as Cicilline accused the company of leveraging its dominant search engine to steal ideas and information from other websites and manipulating its results to drive people to its own digital services to boost its profits.

Pichai repeatedly deflected Cicillines attacks by asserting that Google tries to provide the most helpful and relevant information to the hundreds of millions of people who use its search engine each day in an effort to keep them coming back instead of defecting to a rival service, such as Microsofts Bing.

As Democrats largely focused on market competition, several Republicans aired longstanding grievances, claiming the tech companies are censoring conservative voices and questioning their business activities in China. Big Tech is out to get conservatives, insisted Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

In its bipartisan investigation, the Judiciary subcommittee collected testimony from mid-level executives of the four firms, competitors and legal experts, and pored over more than a million internal documents from the companies. A key question: whether existing competition policies and century-old antitrust laws are adequate for overseeing the tech giants, or if new legislation and enforcement funding are needed.

Cicilline has called the four companies monopolies, although he says breaking them up should be a last resort. While forced breakups may appear unlikely, the wide scrutiny of Big Tech points toward possible new restrictions on its power.

The companies face legal and political offensives on multiplying fronts, from Congress, the Trump administration, federal and state regulators and European watchdogs. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have been investigating the four companies practices.

___

Liedtke reported from San Ramon, California, and OBrien from Providence, Rhode Island. AP Business Writer Joseph Pisani in New York contributed to this report.

___

Follow Gordon on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mgordonap.

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Lawmakers grill 4 Big Tech CEOs but don't land many blows - The Associated Press

Congress is going to ask Big Techs leaders all the wrong questions. Here are the right ones – San Francisco Chronicle

Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. If you want something thats not afraid to compete for your attention, try this fine newsletter.

The House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, after a brief delay, is summoning Big Tech to explain itself Wednesday. Called to testify are the CEOs of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

Together, Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg oversee companies worth about $6.3 trillion. They didnt get that way by being shy about crushing the competition. Remember Cuil? Quidsi? Palm? Path? Exactly.

If youre the drinking type, pour a shot every time you hear a CEO talk about obsessing about customers, not competitors; worrying about Chinese competitors waiting in the wings; making a positive difference in society; and having pathetically small market share, really, if you just count it correctly.

Expect a lot of naive, time-wasting questions from our elected representatives. If you remember Zuckerbergs four-hour House hearing in 2018, it wasnt exactly a shining moment for Congress. (You love America, we know that was one memorable quote.)

If subcommittee members were serious, heres what theyd ask:

Where do you get the data that informs your decisions to buy smaller tech companies? Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabets Google all have unique lenses into online activity, and the cloud infrastructure they are building just adds to their ability to surveil smaller rivals before they become real challengers. One clue Zuckerberg had about Instagrams early hypergrowth was the number of photos users were posting from the startups mobile app to Facebooks social network.

What tools do you have to retaliate against startups that refuse to sell to you? Amazon threatened a price war against Quidsi before buying it. After Twitter turned down a Facebook buyout offer, Facebook turned off access to its friends lists.

Do users have a reasonable way to extract their personal data and share it with competitors? Most big tech companies offer some kind of way to export user data. That doesnt mean its useful.

How do you restrain entrepreneurs who sell their startups to you from starting new competitive ventures? The best way Silicon Valley has of self-regulating against would-be monopolists is its ability to churn out new startups. Noncompete agreements prevent that from happening.

I dont expect any of these topics to come up at the Wednesday hearing, because posturing and lecturing is a lot easier. But in between shots, there might be room for hope.

Owen Thomas, othomas@sfchronicle.com

Related Stories

Hopefully theyll look to the facts, understand the values of the people that theyre thinking about and understand that were in this together. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, speaking to CNBC on the prospects for public acceptance of a coronavirus vaccine

From Capitol Hill to Wall Street: Apple, Facebook and Alphabet report earnings Thursday, the day after their CEOs wrap up their congressional testimony.

Dana Mattoli and Cara Lombardo on Amazons habit of competing with startups it invests in. (Wall Street Journal)

Roland Li on Googles long-term work-from-home plans. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Teddy Schleifer on Peter Thiels latest political backing of restrictions on immigration. (Recode)

Tech Chronicle is a weekly newsletter from Owen Thomas, The Chronicles business editor, and the rest of the tech team. Follow along on Twitter: @techchronicle and Instagram: @techchronicle

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Congress is going to ask Big Techs leaders all the wrong questions. Here are the right ones - San Francisco Chronicle

Lawmakers keen to break up ‘big tech’ like Amazon and Google need to realize the world has changed a lot since Microsoft and Standard Oil – The…

Big tech is back in the spotlight.

The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google testified before Congress on July 29 to defend their market dominance from accusations theyre stifling rivals. Lawmakers and regulators are increasingly talking about antitrust action and possibly breaking the companies up into smaller pieces.

I study the effects of digital technologies on lives and livelihoods across 90 countries. I believe advocates of breaking up big technology companies, as well as opponents, are both falling prey to some serious myths and misconceptions.

Arguments for and against antitrust action often use earlier cases as reference points.

The massive 19th-century monopoly Standard Oil, for example, has been referred to as the Google of its day. There are also people who are recalling the 1990s antitrust case against Microsoft.

Those cases may seem similar to todays situation, but this era is different in one crucial way: the global technology marketplace.

Currently, there are two big tech clusters. One is in the U.S., dominated by Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. The other is in China, dominated by Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei and TikTok-maker ByteDance.

This global market is subject to very different political and policy pressures than regulators faced when dealing with Standard Oil and Microsoft. For example, the Chinese government has blocked most of the U.S. companies from entering its market. And the U.S. government has done likewise, blacklisting some Chinese outfits over perceived national security threats while discouraging others.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government has doubled down on championing its own technology companies.

U.S. companies size and data accumulation capabilities give the country economic and political influence around the globe. If the U.S. technology giants are broken up, the result would be a vastly uneven global playing field, pitting fragmented U.S. companies against consolidated state-protected Chinese firms.

There are two main views of antitrust action among legal experts.

One focuses on consumer welfare, which has been the prevailing approach federal lawyers have taken since the 1960s. The other suggests that regulators should look at the underlying structure of the market and potential for powerful players to exploit their positions.

Those two sides seem to agree that price plays a key role. People who argue against breaking up the tech giants point out that Facebook and Google provide services that are free to the consumer, and that Amazons marketplace power drives its products costs down. On the other side, though, are those who say that having low or no prices is evidence that these companies are artificially lowering consumer costs to draw users into company-controlled systems that are hard to leave.

Both sides are missing the fact that the monetary price is less relevant as a measure of what users pay in the technology industry than it is in other types of business. Users pay for digital products with their data, rather than just money.

Regulators shouldnt focus only on the monetary costs to the users. Rather, they should ask whether users are being asked for more data than is strictly necessary, whether information is being collected in intrusive or abusive ways and whether customers are getting good value in exchange for their data.

There arent just two ways for this debate to end, with either a breakup of one or more technology giants or simply leaving things as they are for the market to develop further.

In my view, the best outcome is right in the middle. The errant company is sued to make necessary changes but isnt broken up. The very fact that the government filed a lawsuit leads to progress with other companies. That is exactly what happened in past cases against the Bell System, IBM and Microsoft.

In the 1956 federal consent decree against the Bell System telephone company, for example, which settled a seven-year legal saga, the company wasnt split up. Instead, Bell was required to license all its patents royalty-free to other businesses. This meant that some of the most profound technological innovations in history including the transistor, the solar cell and the laser became widely available, yielding computers, solar power and other technologies that are crucial to the modern world. When the Bell System was eventually broken up in 1982, it did not do nearly as much to spread innovation and competition as the agreement that kept the Bells together a quarter-century earlier.

The antitrust action against IBM lasted 13 years and didnt break up the company. However, as part of its tactics to avoid appearing to be a monopoly, IBM agreed to separate pricing for its hardware and software products, previously sold as an indivisible bundle. This created an opportunity for entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Paul Allen to create a new software-only company called Microsoft. The surge of software innovations that have followed can clearly trace their origins to the IBM settlement.

Two decades later, Microsoft was itself the target of an antitrust action. In the resulting settlement, Microsoft agreed to ensure its products were compatible with competitors software. That made room in the emerging internet marketplace for web browsers, the predecessors of Apples Safari, Mozillas Firefox and Google Chrome.

Even Margrethe Vestager, the European Unions top antitrust official and frequent tech-giant nemesis, has said that antitrust prosecutions are part of how technology grows. But that doesnt mean they all have to achieve their most extreme ends and be broken up.

The current pandemic has highlighted the value of the technological innovations of the big tech companies.

Americans are relying more than ever on the internet and online shopping and delivery, while mobility data has been critical in gauging social distancing behaviors and guiding policy. Digital tools for tracking coronavirus cases, deaths and social distancing behaviors in the smallest counties have circulated widely, and social media and smartphone videos were crucial to the recent protests and calls for social justice.

Altogether, this has led to a softening of public opinion toward big tech and calls for an end to talk of breaking them up.

But the pandemic has also revealed numerous digital fault lines: differences in access by country, race and region; the ability of tech companies to exploit labor; and potential for new kinds of misuse of data.

Far from giving the technology industry a free pass, the pandemic is an opportunity to take a more balanced view. Yes, lets celebrate the Silicon Valleys value, but lets not turn a blind eye to the problems they create or worsen.

During the hearings, youll likely hear politicians accentuate the bad stuff, while the tech CEOs will paint an overly rosy image of themselves. Antitrust is complicated enough without misconceptions clouding their judgments as well.

This is an updated and expanded version of an article originally published on July 17, 2019.

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Lawmakers keen to break up 'big tech' like Amazon and Google need to realize the world has changed a lot since Microsoft and Standard Oil - The...

Are the Big Tech companies breaking antitrust rules? Their CEOs testify before Congress. – Marketplace

Amazons Jeff Bezos, Apples Tim Cook, Googles Sundar Pichai and Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg, CEOs of four of the worlds most powerful companies, are testifying before Congress Wednesday.

Specifically, they are going before the Houses Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, and the issue here boils down to power. How did these companies get it? Did they do so legally, or did they break rules? Finally, do they have too much power?

Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigans Ross School of Business, spoke with host Sabri Ben-Achour. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Sabri Ben-Achour: So can you explain why this hearing is happening? And, specifically, why this question of how these companies became so powerful and whether they did so legally is an issue right now?

Erik Gordon: The hearing is happening because members of Congress think that these companies are really powerful, and that theyre abusing their power, and that Congress should look into it and maybe pass some new laws. The question you brought up is the key question. Under current antitrust law, its perfectly OK to be big and to be powerful, and, in fact, to be a monopoly, as long as you got big and powerful by lawful means, as long as you didnt do anything illegal. The government cant break you up, under current law, just for being big.

Ben-Achour: So whats an example of how, say, Google or Facebook or whichever might have accumulated power illegally?

Gordon: Suppose you have a dominant online search engine, and you use that search engine dominance to make you even more powerful in an other area. So, for example, suppose you say, You can only use my search engine, if you use my browser. Now you get big and powerful in the browser business, because you already had power in the search engine business. That would be an example of getting bigger and more powerful illegally.

Ben-Achour: Do you think anything significant will come out of these hearings? Or are they sort of theatrical?

Gordon: I have a sense that in an election year, were going to see some theater. Its an opportunity for politicians to control the questions. They get to put together some nice sound bites for their campaign. This isnt the first round of hearings we had, and in the other hearings, where there were some beat-ups of Zuckerberg and other tech people, oh, a few bills were introduced in Congress. They didnt go anywhere. Nothing much happened.

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Are the Big Tech companies breaking antitrust rules? Their CEOs testify before Congress. - Marketplace

Why Big Tech Is Colliding With Washington – Foreign Policy

Here is todays Foreign Policy brief: The U.S.House Judiciary Committee plans to grill Big Tech leaders on antitrust, Taliban leaders announce a three-day cease-fire, and working level U.S.-Russian nuclear talks begin in Vienna.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please sign up here.

Big Techs (Virtual) Showdown

At noon today in Washington, four of the worlds most powerful tech leaders will testify before a U.S. Congressional committee investigating whether their companies have become too dominant in their respective markets. The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will all testify via video conference. It will be Amazon CEO Jeff Bezoss first time appearing before Congress.

The hearing has been called by the antitrust panel of the House Judiciary Committee and is part of a year-long investigation into possible monopolistic practices of the tech giants as Chairman David Cicilline, a Democrat, attempts to build a case for updating current U.S. antitrust laws.

Appitol Hill. All four companies are immensely profitable, and any effort to break them up or impose onerous regulations will be fought aggressively by a sector becoming more and more at home in Washington. Since 2014, the amount Amazon has spent lobbying the U.S. government has more than tripled and overtook the spending of AlphabetGoogles parent companyin 2019.

What theyll say. Despite user bases in the billions, expect each tech leader to play down their companys dominance (and in Mark Zuckerbergs case, talk up TikToks competitor status). Although the hearing is ostensibly about antitrust, expect Republican lawmakers to bring up perceived censorshipofconservativeviews on web platforms and Democrats to raise concerns about disinformation headed into the U.S. presidential election.

What Were Following Today

Taliban calls cease-fire. The Taliban has announced a three-day cease-fire during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, with the suspension of hostilities scheduled to begin this Friday. Separately, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has suggested peace talks are imminent, based on his government nearing an agreed number of prisoner releases. With this action, we look forward to the start of direct negotiations with the Taliban in a weeks time, Ghani said. The decision comes as U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is due to visit Afghanistan this week.

Russian and U.S. officials meet for nuclear talks. Working groups of government experts from Russia and the United States meet in Vienna today to begin three days of talks on the topic of nuclear arms control ahead of the expiry of the New START agreement. The meetings follow negotiations between U.S. arms control envoy Marshall Billingslea and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in June.

U.S. admits to killing civilian in Somalia. U.S. Africa Command (Africom) has admitted to killing one civilian and injuring three others in a February 2 airstrike in Somalia. It is only the second time Africom has admitted to killing civilians in its Africa operations since it began reporting. The strike took place near Jilib, an area south of Somalias capital Mogadishu. The Feb. 2 killing had been highlighted in a report by Amnesty International in March, and at the time U.S. officials maintained that only terrorists had been killed in the operation. Africoms commander, Gen. Stephen Townsend said the military did not intend to target civilians in their operations against al-Shabab. We work hard to prevent civilians from getting hurt or killed during these operations designed to bring increased security and stability to Somalia, Townsend said.

Powells view on economy. The monthly meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserves Federal Open Market Committee, which sets U.S. interest rates, takes place today in Washington. Although rates are expected to remain unchanged, Fed chief Jerome Powells subsequent press conference should give an insight into the direction central bankers see the U.S. economy going in the coming months and whether more intervention is needed.

Australia to increase cooperation with U.S. Australia has agreed to increased and regularized maritime cooperation with the United States in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean following a meeting between the countries top defense and foreign-policy officials. The declaration does not mean Australia will join U.S. freedom of navigation operations in the disputed sea, a practice that Beijing deems provocative. Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne told reporters that Australia has no intention of injuringits relationship with China, its number one trade partner. A joint statement also announced the formation of a U.S.-Australian working group to respond to disinformation efforts in the region.

Biden to announce running mate. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic party nominee for president told reporters on Tuesday that he will announce his choice of running mate by next week. Biden has promised to choose a woman for the role, although there is not yet a clear frontrunner. On Tuesday, Biden was photographed with handwritten notes with a list of positive talking points about California Senator Kamala Harris. Politico also accidentally published a page on its website which named Harris as Bidens running mate, before it was swiftly updated and the claim was removed.

In a development that may have been more welcome in the earliest stage of lockdown, when bread-baking and gardening were in vogue, residents in more than a dozen U.S. states have reported receiving suspicious packages of seeds, apparently from China. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the mystery, and has advised anyone who has received the seeds to refrain from planting them. It is speculated that the seeds may have been part of a brushing scam, whereby products are shipped to unwitting addressees in order to create a fraudulent (but authentic-looking) review online in order to drive sales. At this point in time, we dont have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bio-terrorism, Ryan Quarles, the Kentucky agriculture commissioner, said.

Thats it for today.

For more from FP, visit foreignpolicy.com, subscribe here, or sign up for our other newsletters. Send your tips, comments, questions, or corrections to morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.

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Why Big Tech Is Colliding With Washington - Foreign Policy

Big tech companies continue to expand in Seattle – KING5.com

Technology companies now make up around 20% of the state's overall economic impact.

SEATTLE As Congress investigates whether big tech companies are too big, Seattle continues to see fast growth as these companies expand.

Currently, tech companies make up 20.2% of Washington state's overall economy, according to a recent study by CompTIA.

In Seattle, the overall footprint among companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook is expanding. Amazon's global headquarters is now more than 40 owned and leased buildings in Seattle.

When it comes to jobs, the impact is growing too.

Amazon currently employs around 50,000 people in the region. Apple, which is moving into two 12-story buildings on Dexter Avenue in Seattle, is planning to move in around 2,000 employees.

Google is putting the finishing touches on its new five-building campus along Mercer Street and is expected to provide around 4,500 jobs.

Facebook, which is also now growingwith five buildings in Seattle, has around 5,000 employees in the city.

But many feel that big tech growth can also do more harm than good.

"These four companies represent a private government that can overtake many countries in a way," said Hanson Hosein, co-director of the Communication Leadership master's program at the University of Washington. Hosein has been closely studying tech growth in Seattle for more than a decade.

"We're talking billions of people and trillions of dollars," he said. "That power is disproportionate, and the concern is very anti-democratic because they're not that accountable to us."

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Big tech companies continue to expand in Seattle - KING5.com

All Eyes on Big Tech Earnings: Here’s What to Expect – Yahoo Finance

The coronavirus pandemic might have slammed the broader market in the June quarter but tech isnt expected to have seen much effect on earnings.

For the sector, second-quarter earnings are expected to be down 10.9% on 0.3% lower revenues. But thats far better compared to the overall earnings picture. This is because total earnings for S&P 500 companies are projected to decline 42.9% on 9.6% lower revenues (read more: The Technology Sector Shows its Earnings Power Amid Coronavirus).

Thus, investors are now keeping an eye on four big tech companies in terms of market capitalization that are slated to report their June-quarter earnings on Jul 30, after the closing bell. Apple Inc. AAPL, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN, Alphabet Inc. GOOGL and Facebook, Inc. FB worth nearly $5 trillion are mostly expected to come up with encouraging earnings results.

The big four are expected to have benefitted from the coronavirus-led shutdown measures as some of their businesses gained immensely from consumers, mostly working and learning from home. At the same time, these companies have been gaining immensely from secular trends like cloud computing and robust telecommunications infrastructure demand for which skyrocketed amid the health crisis.

The big four tech stocks along with Microsoft Corporation MSFT have in fact returned 49% over the past year, whereas the rest of the companies in the S&P 500 cohort have barely moved. Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse, noted that net margins of the big four and Microsoft taken together are 17.3% on average in the trailing 12 months, which is 70% higher than the rest of the S&P 500 companies. And profits of the five stocks were up 3.1% in the same period against a 9.2% decline for the other S&P 500 companies.

But if financial results for the to-be-reported quarter fall short of expectations, it could cause big market gyrations in after-hour trading and again on Jul 31. After all, their sheer size no doubt will have a big impact on the market and could easily decide whether the bourses will continue to hit new highs. Nevertheless, Golub has calmed investors concerns by saying that these companies have strong cash positions and their higher margins should certainly help them post better results in periods of market stress. Let us, thus, take a look at how they will fare this time around

One of the areas of Apples business that investors expect to have shone in the June quarter is the services segment. It has always been Apples most lucrative segment in terms of gross profit, and investors anticipate lockdown measures and social-distancing norms in the quarter to have fuelled rapid growth in the segment that includes the App Store and Apple Pay.

But Apples fortunes are heavily dependent on iPhone sales. And the companys fiscal third-quarter iPhone sales are believed to have remained muted due to sluggish demand in China. Thus, Apples sales are expected at $51.94 billion, indicating a year-over-year decline of 3.5%. Earnings per share are also likely to come in at $2.03, suggesting a 6.9% decline year over year. Traditionally, Apples third-quarter fiscal results are always the weakest. The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company currently has an Earnings ESP of +0.72%. Per our proven model, the combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 increases the chances of an earnings beat. You can see the complete list of todays Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

With majority of retail stores remaining closed in the June quarter, online sales picked up lockdown and social-distancing measures. Whats more, financial relief packages by the government and an uptick in employment rates increased disposable income in the quarter, something that boosted online sales.

Separately, Amazons focus on cloud computing might have improved the e-commerce giants financial results. This is because as majority of people remotely worked during the quarter ending June 2020, most companies had to move a bulk portion of their workloads to the cloud. The Zacks Rank #3 company currently has an Earnings ESP of +107.82%.

Story continues

The pandemic helped Facebook increase user engagement with its several social media platforms as people had to stay at home amid stringent lockdown measures imposed to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.

Therefore, Facebook is widely expected to have seen a surge in the usage of its services like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp in the second quarter.

Thus, the companys expected revenues for the June quarter is $17.29 billion, indicating a year-over-year increase of 2.4%. Similarly, the company expects earnings per share of $1.44, indicating a 58.2% increase from the same period last year. Whats more, the Zacks Rank #3 company has an Earnings ESP of +4.86%.

The numbers werent encouraging for Alphabet in the first quarter. But three months later, Alphabets shares went up nearly 21%. So, what happened? This is because the stay-at-home economy in the second quarter buoyed Alphabets YouTube and Cloud services that provided home-based access to the outside world.

However, Alphabet had to bear significant costs in providing cloud services. Needless to say, rising litigations across the world due to its dominant position in search also remained a headwind in the June quarter. As a result, the Zacks Rank #3 company currently has an Earnings ESP of -1.12%.

Each was hand-picked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2020. Each comes from a different sector and has unique qualities and catalysts that could fuel exceptional growth.

Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>

Click to get this free report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) : Free Stock Analysis Report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report Apple Inc. (AAPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report Facebook, Inc. (FB) : Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) : Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research

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All Eyes on Big Tech Earnings: Here's What to Expect - Yahoo Finance

How Congress can expose the silent dangers of big tech – CNN

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Stop with the egg metaphor in discussing Big Tech break-ups | TheHill – The Hill

As the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google prepare forhistorictestimony today in front of the House antitrust committee and withlegal chargesexpected soon I have a request: Before we dismiss the possibility of breaking them up, can we please stop comparing the worlds most powerful companies to eggs?

The current Chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission stated that after Facebook and Instagram have integrated their systems following their merger, splitting up the two social networks becomes more difficult because the eggs are scrambled. The U.S. Department of Justice antitrust chief under President Obama made a similar observation that it can be very difficult, or impossible, to unscramble the eggs. Over decades, references to this breakfast plate have repeatedly appeared in official speeches, scholarly articles, and judicial rulings.

The metaphor is misguided. Businesses routinely break themselves up. More than3,000 voluntary divestitures occur each year, amounting to abouta third of all mergers and acquisitions. Many are enormous. Not that long ago, Hewlett-Packard split itselfdown the middle to createtwo independent Fortune 100 companies. Last year Fox sold its movie business to Disney for$71 billion.

In other words, while most in the government and academia see breakups as radical and extreme, leading business executives see them as astandard part of corporate governance. I know because I have advised executives at several of the nations largest companies on massive reorganizations. If we must analogize monopolies to eggs, at the very least we should recognize that while nobody unscrambles eggs, we regularly carve up omelets after theyre prepared.

This seemingly harmless metaphor expresses a potentially devastating worldview that helps explain why the government has not broken up any of the largest U.S. companies since 1984. Thats when the Department of Justicesplit the AT&T monopoly into seven pieces, a move widely celebrated especially byconsumers who were paying over eight dollars for a five-minute call from Washington, D.C. to New York.

Today, however, even many leadingleft-leaning intellectualscalling for more aggressive antitrust enforcement opposesplitting up Big Tech due to breakups perceived messiness. They prefer other remedies, like mandating access. Access mandates leave the monopoly in place but require it to help competitors. For instance, rather than forcing Facebook to divest its previous acquisition, Instagram, the social network could be required to allow users to transfer their accounts or post simultaneously to other social networks.

One clear problem with this and other alternative remedies is that theyare unlikely to deter anticompetitive behavior. At trial,companies almost always fight for something other than breakups. Weaker remedies give CEOs incentives to build monopolies. Equally problematic is that these other remedies are extremely difficult and expensive. For example, requiring Amazon to share its platform fairly with competitors would require ongoing monitoring by the government over decades to ensure compliance.

In contrast, breakups are cleaner and cheaper because they provide a one-off event after which the government can move on. By instead pushing antitrust toward government-heavy remedies, the resistance to breakups leaves antitrust with only unattractive options. Unattractive remedies mean enforcers are less likely to take any action.

In other words, the animosity toward breakups has enfeebled the very institution of antitrust in America.

Of course, while breakups of Facebook and Instagram or Google and Waze may make sense, there are limits to how much some of these tech companies can be carved up without harming consumers. And antitrust breakups involve considerable costs in executing the reorganization. As a result, some caution is appropriate in choosing them as the remedy, and access mandates have a place in the antitrust arsenal. It would be a mistake to launch into an indiscriminate breakup rampage of all concentrated industries.

In weighing those costs, however, authorities should recognize that even private divestitures require tremendous organizational expenses. The key in both public and private breakups is not to let the inevitable reorganization costs prevent economic progress. In 1911, John D. Rockefellers lawyers argued that breaking up his oil monopoly would not only be dangerous to the industry, but calamitous to shareholders. Similar arguments were made before theAT&T breakup.

ButRockefellers wealth skyrocketed after the Standard Oil breakup, and AT&T shareholders who held onto their stock earnedhigh returns. Thats because buyers of broken up monopolies pay for the carved-up pieces. And smaller,nimbler companies can better adapt to changing markets. More importantly, nobody can deny thatthose U.S. industries subsequently flourished and led the world.

A better antitrust analogy would be to firefighting.The Forest Serviceregularly manages controlled burns, which prevent catastrophic wildfires and enable ecosystems to thrive. Occasional breakups that have costs in the short-term can help make markets healthier in the long run. The harms to our economy from large monopolies are far more certain than the speculative fears of messy breakups.

Rory Van Loo is a professor at Boston University and the author, most recently, ofIn Defense of Breakups: Administering a Radical Remedy. He previously advised multinational corporate executives on mergers and acquisitions. Follow him on Twitter @RoryVanLoo

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Stop with the egg metaphor in discussing Big Tech break-ups | TheHill - The Hill

Sen. Hawley introduces bill to remove Big Tech’s Section 230 ad immunity – Fox Business

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr argues there is a growing and bipartisan consensus to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is in the spotlight after Google allegedly targeted conservative websites ZeroHedge and the Federalist.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Tuesday introduced a bill that would remove Section 230 protections for Big Tech companies that "display manipulative, behavioral ads or provide data to be used for them."

Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act ensures internet platforms and social media websites are not held liable for content published by third-party users, which includeadvertisers.

"Big Techs manipulative advertising regime comes with a massive hidden price tag for consumers while providing almost no return to anyone but themselves," Hawley said in a Tuesday statement. "From privacy violations to harming children to suppression of speech, the ramifications are very real."

He added that the manipulative ads seen on social media and other platforms "are not what Congress had in mind when passing Section 230, and now is the time to put a stop to this abuse."

SHOULD SECTION 230 BE REVISED?

One example when a website used Section 230 to defend its role in publishing problematic ads to its platform is a 2015 lawsuit brought against Backpage owner Village Voice Media Holdings.The suit titled J.S. v. Village Voice alleges that Backpage.com posted advertisements that resulted in the sexual abuse of three underaged girls.

"J.S. allegedly was raped multiple times by adult customers who responded to the advertisements. J.S. filed a complaint alleging state law claims for damages against Backpage ... asserting claims for negligence, outrage, sexual exploitation of children, ratification/vicarious liability, unjust enrichment" and more, the case opinion from a Washington state courtreads.

WHAT IF SECTION 230 IS REVOKED?

Backpage tried to dismiss claims in thetrial court on the grounds of Section 230 immunity,but the court denied the move, giving the plaintiffs an opportunity to prove that Backpage helped develop the ads and was therefore subject to liability. The plaintiffs reached a settlement with Backpage.com in October 2017.

A person working on a laptop in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Hawley, a staunch critic of Big Tech and social media companies, also accused tech giants,in a press release announcing the proposed legislation,like Facebook and Google of tracking users without their consent for the purpose of profiting off ads

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Section 230 has sparked debate recently along party lines; some Democrats believe the law offers unjust protections to platforms that allow third-party users, including President Trump, to post problematic or harmful content, while some Republicans argue that the law protects social media companies that they allege actively seek to suppress certain political viewpoints or users.

Hawley, for example, introduced another Section 230-related bill in June that would require internet platforms to "submit to an external audit that proves by clear and convincing evidence that their algorithms and content-removal practices are politically neutral," according to a release.

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Big Tech antitrust hearing could be colossal or mere theater – Roll Call

This hearing is timely and important, said Maurice Stucke, a former prosecutor in the Justice Departments antitrust division who now teaches law at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Its taking place not in isolation, but amid increased scrutiny of the dominant technology platforms from around the world.

Stucke believes the hearing is happening at a critical juncture, when authorities are beginning to grapple with the sweeping market power amassed by a handful of digital platforms, only to realize that current antitrust laws are inadequate and in need of change.

All four companies appearing at Wednesdays hearing are the targets of ongoing antitrust investigations by the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission or bipartisan coalitions of state attorneys general.

The emerging consensus is that first, antitrust scrutiny is a necessary but not sufficient component to address the multiple risks that these powerful platforms pose; second, the antitrust laws need to be updated; and third, we need to go beyond antitrust to a regulatory framework that addresses the risks posed to consumer protection and privacy, Stucke said.

But there are others who see the antitrust scrutiny of major technology companies as misplaced. Geoffrey Manne, president of the International Center for Law and Economics, which advocates limited antitrust regulation of digital platforms, is skeptical of using antitrust enforcement to rein in or break up the companies, as some have suggested doing.

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Big 5 Tech Stocks Have Trounced the Market. So Have Their Fundamentals. – Barron’s

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With four of the five largest companies on the market set to report earnings on Thursday, and technology stocks lagging behind the market on several days over the past two weeks, you have likely read plenty about how Big Tech stocks are driving the market in 2020.

You may have heard comparisons made to the 2000 technology bubble, and dire predictions about how the current run-up in tech stocks will end just as badly for investors.

The combined market capitalization of Alphabet (ticker: GOOGL), Amazon.com (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), and Microsoft (MSFT) is 22% of the S&P 500. Thats a lot. In fact, it is more than the 18% share that the five most-valuable companies commanded at the tech bubble peak in March 2000. Back then, Microsoft, Cisco (CSCO), General Electric (GE), Intel (INTC), and Exxon Mobil (XOM) were the top dogs by market cap.

And just like in 2000, the five Big Tech stocks have trounced the market over the past year. They are up 49% on average, while the rest of the S&P 500 is about flat. Thats a big gap.

So it must be a bubble right? No so fast. Credit Suisse chief U.S. equity strategist Jonathan Golub said in a report on Monday that the comparisons to the tech bubbleand predictions of a coming crasharent justified by a comparison of the companies fundamentals. The top five stocks today make up a larger share of S&P 500 earningswith faster relative projected growththan they did in March 2000. And they trade for a cheaper valuation multiple than the top five did back then, too.

While a nearly 50% performance advantage over 12 months is obviously significant, about three-quarters of that outperformance can be explained by superior earnings. Earnings drive stock prices in the long run, after all.

The comparison to the tech bubble peak falls apart more on the fundamentals as well, according to Golub. In March 2000, the top five stocks in the S&P 500 posted earnings and sales growth of 18.0% and 16.8%, respectively, over the preceding 12 months. That compared with 15.4% and 12.1%, respectively, for the other 495 S&P 500 companies. The big five of 2000 were ahead for sure, but not by leaps and bounds.

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Every weekday evening we highlight the consequential market news of the day and explain what's likely to matter tomorrow.

Today, Alphabet, Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft are sitting on 3.1% earnings growth over the past four reported quarters, while the remainder of the S&P 500 have seen earnings contract by 9.2%. The revenue gap is also wide: 11.2% growth for Big Tech and just 0.8% for the rest.

Andsignificant in times of market stress and volatility like the current environmentthe biggest five companies today have net cash positions on their balance sheets and much wider profit margins than the rest of the S&P 500 and the big five of 2000. That means they can withstand shocks much better, and justifies premium valuations and performance in a down market.

For Golub, that means the big can continue getting bigger.

The conclusion seems quite clear, todays larger names are superior on almost every financial metric including revenue and profit growth, margin structure, volatility, and corporate leverage, Golub wrote on Monday. As such, we wouldnt be surprised to see the performance gap widen even further.

Write to Nicholas Jasinski at nicholas.jasinski@barrons.com

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Big 5 Tech Stocks Have Trounced the Market. So Have Their Fundamentals. - Barron's

Top antitrust Democrat opens hearing by comparing big tech firms to past monopolies | TheHill – The Hill

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs Cicilline grills Zuckerberg on coronavirus misinformation: This is 'about Facebook's business model' MORE (D-R.I.), the chairman of a panel hearing testimony Wednesday from CEOs of four of the nation's largest tech companies, compared Americas biggest tech companies to historic monopolies such as AT&T and Microsoft during his opening statement.

"When the American people confronted monopolists in the past be it the railroads and oil tycoons or AT&T and Microsoft we took action to ensure no private corporation controls our economy or our democracy, he said.

Cicilline, who has led the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust's yearlong investigation into tech companies, also described the biggest platforms asemperors of the online economy.

He argued that the power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google haslimited consumer choice and stunted innovation.

And while these dominant firms may still produce some new innovative products, their dominance is killing the small businesses, manufacturing and overall dynamism that are the engines of the American economy, he said, pre-empting a likely defense from the executives.

Cicilline also noted that the coronavirus pandemic has intensified reliance on tech companies, which have seen their market values swell while the rest of the economy has suffered.

He also outlined some of the competition issues that link the companies, which some experts say should have testified separately because of the unique antitrust cases against them.

First, each platform is a bottleneck for a key channel of distribution, he said. "Second, each platform uses its control over digital infrastructure to surveil other companies their growth, business activity and whether they might pose a competitive threat.

Third, he continued, these platforms abuse their control over current technologies to extend their power. Whether its through self-preferencing, predatory pricing, or requiring users to buy additional products, the dominant platforms have wielded their power in destructive, harmful ways in order to expand.

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Biased Big Tech algorithms limit our lives and choices. Stop the online discrimination. – USA TODAY

Marta L. Tellado, Opinion contributor Published 3:15 a.m. ET July 29, 2020

We would never tolerate age, sex or race discrimination at a grocery store or car lot, but we have allowed it to run rampant in the digital world.

The leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have some serious explaining to do about bias and discrimination when they appear Wednesday at an antitrust hearingbefore the House Judiciary Committee.

The abuse of trust by the platform-based companies we rely on most has largely flown under the radar as a global pandemic heightens and highlights fissures in our society.But our data and our choices continue to be manipulated in problematic ways often by algorithms that subtly introduce bias into the prices we pay and the information and options made available to us. It is essential that we hold our digital gatekeepers accountable.

The algorithms at issue have a veritable fire hose of our data at their disposal,and they arent the neutral equations we might assume them to be. They are the product of humans, and because of that they have a tendency to perpetuate human biases.

To cite just three examples:

In 2017, Consumer Reports and ProPublica discovered that drivers living in predominantly minority urban neighborhoods were charged higher auto insurance premiums on average than drivers with similar safety records in nonminority neighborhoods with comparable levels of risk.

In 2018, software created by Amazon to help companies identify the most promising job candidates was discovered to be biased against women, according to Reuters. The algorithm had learned to spot "good" rsums on a diet of examples heavily skewed toward males.

Apples new credit card came under investigation in November, after a customer complained that its lending algorithm offered him a line of credit 20 times higher than it offered his wife even though hercredit score was better than his.

We would never tolerate that sort of blatant discrimination if it happened at a neighborhood grocery store or a car lot, but we have quietly allowed it run rampant in the digital marketplace without oversight or accountability.

A smartphone screen with GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) apps on September 28, 2017, in Hd-Bazouges, France.(Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP via Getty Images)

A follow-up joint investigation recently conducted by Consumer Reports and The Markup revealed how better data can alter the power relationship between company and consumer. The latest example of how algorithms, however unintentionally, negatively affect our lives and our pocketbooks: Allstate, the fourth largest auto insurer in the country, proposed big premium hikes exclusively for customers whoits formulas concluded were less likely than others to shop around.

In targeting what the investigation concluded was a suckers list of drivers deemed by an algorithm to be less likely to switch providers, Allstate used factors that have nothing to do with consumers driving records and their risk for filing a claim.In this case, it was middle-ageconsumers who ended up being discriminated against for no reason other than their shopping tendencies. The result was they wereovercharged quite a bit more for the same coverage.

Tech fail:He was arrested because of a computer error. Now he wants to fix the system.

Facial recognition algorithms used in police departments have been found to misidentify African American and Asian faces up to 100 times as often as Caucasian faces, leading to false arrests and baseless confrontations.

Boston is among the municipalities that have recently taken steps to prevent facial recognition technology from being used by city agencies, including the police. Amazon has imposed a one-year suspension on the sale of its Rekognition software to law enforcement.

Progress has been made on this front in part because of efforts byJoy Buolamwini, a computer scientist and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, and others to call attention to the very real potential harms of this technology.

In the years ahead, algorithms are poised to influence an ever larger share of what we pay, receive, see, learn and decide between from the cost of goods and services to the headlines and search results that do and do not make it into our personal feeds.As their influence rises, the question becomes more critical: How can we guard against algorithmic biases and hold our tech giants accountable for maintaining fairness in the digital marketplace?

So far, we havent pursued policies to ensure that fairness,or even transparency for that matter. We havent created avenues of recourse for consumers who get the short end of the stick. Wealso know that industry thus far cant be counted on to self-regulate in many cases, they arent even aware that potential discrimination is going on until after journalists or customers happen to unravel it.Too often, the watchdogs arent watching closely enough.

Failure to enforce: Despite COVID-19 pandemic, tech giants still profit from anti-vaccination movement

The good news is that consumers hold tremendous power to set us on a better path. By wielding our collective influence, we can press for policymakers to enact new laws and standards to bring fairness and transparency to the hidden world of algorithms. Companies should not be permitted to use "proxy" data, like users' ZIPcodes or credit scores, in algorithms where it isn't relevant these are data points that frequently lead to discriminatory outputs. And we need vigorous oversight and enforcement of laws that prohibit bias.

As the CEOs of the most powerful tech companies take questions, we must get answers on platform accountability and plans to limit discrimination. Many biases may still be hardwired in our society, but that doesnt mean we have to sit idly by as they replicate themselves in the digital economy. It is within our power and, indeed, it is our responsibility to ensure that the digital world evolves in the direction of greater fairness and greater trust.

Marta L. Tellado is the president and chief executive officer of Consumer Reports. Follow her on Twitter: @MLTellado

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The biggest tech earnings matter more than ever – CNN

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","descriptionText":"Guggenheim Partners global chief investment officer tells CNN Business' Matt Egan why he expects a looming market collapse could force the Federal Reserve to buy US stocks. "},{"title":"Vroom CEO on why the company went public during a recession","duration":"02:15","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/06/10/vroom-ceo-explains-ipo-success.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2020/06/10/vroom-ceo-explains-ipo-success.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200610134100-vroom-ceo-explains-ipo-success-00004305-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2020/06/10/vroom-ceo-explains-ipo-success.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/","description":"Taking a company public during a recession and pandemic combined might not seem like the best idea, but Vroom managed to surge 118% in its NASDAQ debut. Its CEO Paul Hennessy explains the company's success.","descriptionText":"Taking a company public during a recession and pandemic combined might not seem like the best idea, but Vroom managed to surge 118% in its NASDAQ debut. Its CEO Paul Hennessy explains the company's success."},{"title":"The US is in a recession. 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CNN Business' Christine Romans explains what that means."},{"title":"Neel Kashkari: Real unemployment rate could reach 30%","duration":"04:59","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/05/27/neel-kashkari-federal-reserve-coronavirus.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2020/05/27/neel-kashkari-federal-reserve-coronavirus.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200527110901-neel-kashkari-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2020/05/27/neel-kashkari-federal-reserve-coronavirus.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/","description":"Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari tells CNN's Poppy Harlow "ultimately, we have to solve the virus if we're going to solve the economy and there is great uncertainty about where the virus is going."","descriptionText":"Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari tells CNN's Poppy Harlow "ultimately, we have to solve the virus if we're going to solve the economy and there is great uncertainty about where the virus is going.""},{"title":"Nasdaq moves to delist Luckin Coffee","duration":"02:43","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/05/21/luckin-coffee-delist-nasdaq.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2020/05/21/luckin-coffee-delist-nasdaq.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200406121237-luckin-coffee-cup-file-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2020/05/21/luckin-coffee-delist-nasdaq.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-markets-investing/","description":"Nasdaq moved to delist Luckin Coffee in the wake of the Chinese firm's accounting fraud. 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That's why when markets go haywire, many investors turn to gold as a safe haven. u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/specials/health/coronavirus-videos-latest" target="_blank">Watch the latest videos on Covid-19.u003c/a>","descriptionText":"From ancient times to the modern day, gold has been an enduring symbol of wealth. That's why when markets go haywire, many investors turn to gold as a safe haven. u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/specials/health/coronavirus-videos-latest" target="_blank">Watch the latest videos on Covid-19.u003c/a>"}],'js-video_headline-featured-1scmovo','',"js-video_source-featured-1scmovo",true,true,'business-markets-investing');if (typeof configObj.context !== 'string' || configObj.context.length

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The biggest tech earnings matter more than ever - CNN