Ruthless Tactics Revealed at Antitrust Hearing

Ruthless Tactics Revealed at Antitrust Hearing

( – Many of us seek to fulfill the American Dream. Hopes for starting a small business with grit and determination in order to live off its profits is a popular goal among entrepreneurs. But, many companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, revealed their harsh tactics to keep these underdogs down.

Emails published on Wednesday, July 29, as part of Congress’ antitrust hearings show how big tech CEOs challenge and buy out any potential competition.

The Instagram Case

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012. Before the purchase, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an email, “Instagram can hurt us meaningfully without becoming a huge business.” Soon after, he clarified, stating, “I didn’t mean to imply that we’d be buying them to prevent them from competing with us in any way.”

While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) did approve the deal at the time, many lawmakers, including Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), believe it’s clear Facebook pursued the purchase of Instagram to squelch competition.

Jayapal questioned Zuckerberg about Facebook’s tactics by referencing an email from the social media site’s Product Management Director. He wrote that the company should be “far more aggressive and nimble in copying competitors.” Zuckerberg danced around an answer, seen below, simply stating he chooses to “respectfully disagree with the premise.”

It Doesn’t Stop There

Meanwhile, emails from Amazon’s Senior Vice President (SVP) of the North America Consumer division, Doug Harrington, show the following concern about a small competitor:

This is clear and intentional undercutting of the competition in order to come out on top. However, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, when questioned about this, claimed, “I don’t remember it.”

As these tech companies deny their monopolies on the market, it’s crucial to look at the statistics. Google has 86% of the worldwide desktop search engine market, although it has been slowly dropping since October of 2018. This comes as the company faces a new antitrust probe from the EU about their Fitbit deal and may see a DOJ lawsuit in the near future as well.

In practice, these massive businesses rule their respective markets. They walk a fine line between fostering healthy, capitalistic competition among rising businesses and squashing them. As lawmakers continue to dig into these questionable business practices, we can, again, have hope for people to realize the American dream of running prosperous small businesses.

~Here’s to Your Prosperity!

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