The hearing this week where Pichai, Zuckerberg, Cook, and Bezos appeared (virtually) before a congressional subcommittee for anti-trust was a big event. However, I don’t think it was big enough.
Firstly, the format didn’t lend itself to substantial questions. These congressional hearings are more theatrical than substantial, anyway. Having four CEOs appear at the same time was bad, and doing it virtually was worse.
Secondly, even though there is bipartisan support for breaking up these monopolies, the two parties have their own goals. The Democrats want a competitive marketplace, and the Republicans want to show that they feel like they are being persecuted somehow.
A hearing may start to air the public’s grievances with these companies, but it doesn’t mean much if it’s not immediately followed up by action. I really hope that Congress keeps up its momentum and starts to pass some legislation to limit the powers of these companies.
I like Prof Scott Galloway’s list of questions that Congress should have asked. This article is a goldmine of data about how massive and impactful these monopolies really are. I also recommend his followup about what actually happened at the hearing.