Apple CEO Tim Cook will testify to the House Judiciary Committee today as part of an ongoing investigation into potential antitrust concerns and anti-competitive behavior. Cook will appear alongside Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Head below for the full live blog of today’s hearing.

Prepared remarks

All four of the big tech executives have already shared a copy of their opening prepared remarks for today’s hearing. In Apple’s case, Tim Cook argues that Apple is not a dominant player in any of the markets in which it operates and that the App Store serves as a trusted place for users and developers alike.

The House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee has been investigating the digital marketplace since last June.

‘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,’ House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust Subcommittee chairman David Cicilline said in a joint statement earlier this month.

You can read the full prepared remarks from Cook, Bezos, Pichai, and Zuckerberg below:

How to watch the Tim Cook testimony

The US House will stream today’s hearing live on YouTube. All four of the big tech CEOs will appear in the hearing remotely via video conferencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can watch from the US House Judiciary Committee’s YouTube channel. Learn more in our full guide on how to watch right here.

Tim Cook’s testimony: Live blog

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  • And that’s a wrap. Cicilline finishing up with closing comments: “Today we had the opportunity to hear from the decision-makers at four of the most powerful companies in the world. This hearing has made one fact clear to me: these companies as they exist today have monopoly power. Some need to be broken up, all need to be properly regulated and held accountable. This subcommittee will next publish a report on the findings of our investigation. We will propose solutions for the problems before us.
  • McBath asks the four witnesses if they commit to improving the diversity of its senior leadership. All four say yes.
  • Neguse mentions Tile item trackers and the idea that Apple takes ideas from developers on its platforms.
    • “We run the App Store to help developers, not hurt them. We would never steal somebody’s IP.”

  • Rep. Neguse asks Cook about the App Store guidelines and whether developers are told not to clone apps.
    • Cook: “I’m not totally familiar but I believe that’s the case. We were getting a number of apps that were essentially the same thing.”

  •  Rep. Scanlon asks Bezos if Amazon designated its own in-house products as “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bezos says this was not the case to the best of his knowledge.
  • Jordan asks Cook about Apple’s famous 1984 advertisement. “I remember it very well, it was Apple vs IBM at the time,” Cook says. Jordan somehow links this to “cancel culture” and encourages the four CEOs to speak out against such culture. “I hope you’ll really speak out against it, and be fair with all viewpoints,” he says.
  • Rep. Jordan asks Tim Cook, “is the cancel culture mob dangerous?”
    • Cook: “It’s something I’m not all the way up to speed on. If you’re talking about where somebody with a different point of view talks and they’re canceled, I don’t think that’s good. I think it’s good for people to hear different points of view and decide for themselves.”
  • Rep. Raskin asks Cook for clarity about the App Store commission. Cook explains that subscriptions start at 30% in the first year, then drops to 15% in the second year. 84% of apps pay nothing to Apple, Cook says. “There are enormous choices out there. If you’re a developer you can write for Android, Windows, Xbox, or Playstation,” he says.
  • Nadler asks about the Hey app debacle. Cook says that “Hey is in the store today and we’re happy they’re there.” He emphasizes that Apple receives 100,000 app submissions per day and it does make mistakes.
  • Nadler questions Tim Cook about a recent New York Times report, which detailed how Apple planned to take a cut from virtual experiences such as Airbnb and ClassPass, which were prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nadler asks if this is “pandemic profiteering.”
    • Cook: “We would never do that. A pandemic is a tragedy and it’s hurting Americans and all around the world. I believe the cases you’re talking about are cases where something has moved to a digital service which technically does need to go through our commission model. In both cases that I’m aware of, we are working with the developers.
    • “They’re not. We’re very p[roud of what we’ve done in education and we’re serving that market in a significant way. We will work with people who happen to move from a physical to a virtual world because of the pandemic.”
  • Steube asks all four witnesses if they believe that the Chinese government steals technology from the United States.
    • Cook: “I don’t know of specific cases where we have been stolen from by the government. I know of no case of ours where it’s occurred. I can only speak to first-hand knowledge.”
    • Zuckerberg says it’s a well-documented fact that China steals from American companies.
  • Johnson goes on to question why Facebook repackaged Onavo as the Facebook Research app and used it to pay teens to take surveys. Zuckerberg says he’s not aware of this.
  • Johnson asks Zuckerberg about Facebook’s acquisition of Onavo, and its eventual removal from the App Store. Zuckerberg says the app was not kicked out of the App Store, but rather removed when Apple changed its policies.
  • Rep. Johnson asks Zuckerberg about how Facebook uses things like APIs and the Like button to learn about its competitors. Zuckerberg agrees and says this is common market research.
  • Rep. Gaetz questioning Pichai on preserving the neutrality of the Google platform. Pichai says that Google would take “strong action” against using political agendas to manipulate any of its platforms.
  • Cicilline questions Zuckerberg on why Facebook took so long to remove the incorrect and debunked hydroxychloroquine video on Monday.
  • We’re now moving into the third and final round of questioning. Cicilline kicks things off by asking Zuckerberg if he has a responsibility to remove harmful lies from Facebook. “I do not believe we have any incentive to have this content on our platform, except it’s often the most engaging,” Zuckerberg says.
  • McBath now questioning why Apple rejected an app from publisher Random House, at the same time Random House was refusing to join the iBooks Store.
    • Cook: “There are many reasons why the app might not go through the App Store gate. It might not work properly or there might be other issues.”

  • McBath goes on to question Apple’s removal of competing screen time applications from the App Store.
    • Cook: “We were concerned about the privacy and security of kids. The technology that was being used at the time was used MDM and it had the ability to take over a kid’s screen. There’s vibrant competition of parental controls out there.”

  • Rep. McBath: Does Apple have the ability to restrict apps from the App Store?
    • Cook: “If you look at the history of this, we’ve increased the number of apps from 500 to 1.7 million. We want every app we can on the platform.”

  • Rep. Neguse questions Bezos on e-commerce market share and AWS. “Does Amazon use AWS data to build competing services,” Neguse asks. “Not to my knowledge,” Bezos responds.
  • Rep. Gaetz asks Zuckerberg why he fired Palmer Lucky. Zuckerberg says it’s not appropriate to comment on a particular personnel decision.
  • Demings says she is concerned that “Apple apps always win,” questioning Apple’s removal of third-party screen time apps
    • Cook: “The use of a technology called MDM placed kids’ data at risk and so we were worried about the safety of kids.”
    • Demings asks about a specific app used by the Saudi Arabian government that was not removed, despite using MDM technology. “I’m not familiar with that app. I’d like to look into this and get back to your office. We apply the rules to all developers evenly,” Cook says.
    • “There are over 30 parental controls on the App Store today, so there is plenty of competition. This is not an area where Apple gets any revenue at all,” Cook says.
  • Rep. Demings questions Zuckerberg about Facebook’s integration of third-party platforms, questioning why Facebook would cut off Pinterest but not Netflix. Zuckerberg “not familiar with that exchange,” but says Pinterest is a social competitor.
  • Rep. Armstrong asks Bezos about using aggregate data to compete with third-party sellers.
  • And we’re back after a brief recess.
  • Rep. Johnson questions Bezos on counterfeit products on Amazon. Bezos says Amazon works hard on this issue and that the company does a lot to prevent counterfeiting.
  • Rep. Steube is back with more questions for Sundar Pichai. This time, he wants to know why YouTube pulled the debunked hydroxychloroquine video.
  • Nadler questions Zuckerberg on inflated video views on Facebook and the effects that had on journalists. Zuckerberg “regrets the mistake.”
  • Rep. Gaetz is back with more questions for Google’s Pichai regarding the company’s dominance in the search industry, attempting to make a connection between Google manually alternating search results, bias, and fringe websites.
  • Rep. Raskin asks Bezos if Amazon prices the Echo device below cost. Bezos says if it’s on promotion, it might be below cost. “Our vision to this is that smart home speakers should answer to different wake words,” Bezos says.

  • Rep. Raskin asks Bezos about HBO Max coming to Fire TV. Bezos says it’s simply two large companies trying to negotiate the details.
  • Rep. Buck asks the four witnesses if they agree that if their respective companies would agree not to use slave labor. “I would love to engage on the legislation with you, Congressman, but let me be clear forced labor is abhorrent,” Cook says. He adds that Apple would terminate a supplier relationship if slave labor usage was discovered.
  • Jayapal asks Zuckerberg if Facebook has threatened to clone a competitor while also trying to acquire it. Zuckerberg says he is not aware of that happening, but Jayapal reminds him that he is under oath. The congresswoman questions Zuckerberg about copying Instagram and Snapchat, but Zuckerberg dodges and says he doesn’t remember those conversations.
    • “Facebook is a case study, in my mind, of monopoly power, because your company harvests and monetizes our data, and then your company uses that data to spy on competitors and to copy, acquire and kill rivals,” Jayapal concludes.

  • Rep. Jayapal asks Zuckerberg if Facebook copies features from competitors. Zuckerberg says Facebook adapts features that competitors first had.
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner pushes Zuckerberg on Instagram acquisition again, saying that it was the Obama administration FTC that approved the acquisition. “I have reached the conclusion that we do not need to change our antitrust laws. The question here is the enforcement of those laws,” Sensenbrenner said.
  • That concludes the first round of questions, and we move immediately into round two. Chairman Cicilline presses Bezos on whether sellers have alternative places to sell online.
  • McBath asks Bezos if sellers would still flock to Amazon if the company didn’t have monopolistic power. Bezos rejects “the premise of the questions.”
  • Rep. McBath questions Bezos about stifling third-party sellers on Amazon, including a textbook company that says they were restricted by Amazon. Bezos says that such behavior is not “systematically what’s going on.”
  • Rep. Neguse asks Zuckerberg about Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. “WhatsApp was also both a competitor and complementary,” Zuckerberg said. “They competed with us in the area of social messaging which is an important space.”

  • Scanlon asks Bezos about Amazon’s acquisition of Diapers.com, seeking details about Amazon’s pricing and trying to lower the deal cost. Bezos says he “doesn’t remember that at all.”

  • It’s Rep. Scanlon’s turn to ask questions to the witnesses: “We’d like to redirect you to antitrust law instead of fringe conspiracy theories,” she says. Rep. Jordan fights back, and Chairman Cicilline tells Jordan to “put your mask on.”
  • Rep Jordan is back with questions for Pichai: “Will Google tailor your features to help Joe Biden in the upcoming election?” Pichai says Google supports political ads from both sides. “Any work we do around elections is nonpartisan,” Pichai says.
  • Rep. Demings questions Pichai about Google’s acquisition and the effects it had on user privacy.
    • Demings asks whether the more user data collected means more money for Google. “Most of the data we collect is to help users,” Pichai says.
  • Steube now asks Pichai why his campaign emails are being sent to “Junk” folders for Gmail users.
  • Rep. Steube questions Google’s Pichai about The Gateway Pundit, a far-right news website. Steube says the website was unavailable via Google Search until recently.
  • Rep. Jayapal questions Bezos about whether Amazon uses seller data to make competitive products. Bezos says it’s against company policy, but unclear if it’s happened in the past.
  • We’re back with Rep. Armstrong questioning Pichai about censoring conservative views and whether Google’s size protects it from criticism.
  • We’ve now entered a 10-minute recess while the committee “fixes a technical feed with one of our witnesses.”
  • Rep. Raskin asks Zuckerberg about election integrity, white supremacy, and social division in the US. Zuckerberg emphasizes that Facebook has hired over 30,000 people to protect against election interference.
  • Meanwhile, over in Bezos land:

  • Rep. Gaetz questions Google’s Pichai about working with the Chinese government, but not the US military.
  • Rep. Johnson asks “what’s to stop Apple from increasing App Store commissions to 50%?”
    • Cook emphasizes they’ve never raised commissions, and there is a competition for developers. “They can write their apps for Android, Windows, Xbox, Playstation. It’s like a street fight for market share.”
  • Johnson asks if Apple ever retaliates against developers who speak out about App Store concerns:
    • “We do not retaliate or bully people. It’s strongly against our company culture.”
  • Johnson asks Cook about Amazon’s agreement with Apple, is this program available to any developer?
    • Cook: “It’s available to anyone meeting the conditions.”
  • Rep. Johnson: Does Apple treat every app and every developer the same?
    • Cook: “We treat every developer the same. We have open rules. It’s a rigorous process. Because we care about privacy and quality, we do look at every app before it goes on. We apply these rules equally to everyone.”
  • Rep. Johnson asks Cook about the App Store.
    • “The App Store is a feature of the iPhone, much like the camera is,” Cook says.

  • Rep. Ken Buck questions Google’s Pichai about the company’s ties to China, the reasoning for dropping out of the JEDI military contract, etc.
  • Nadler asks Zuckerberg whether Instagram should be broken off as a separate business today if the initial reason for the acquisition was to stifle a potential competitor. Zuckerberg cites unanimous approval from the FTC.
    • “With hindsight, it probably looks obvious that Instagram would have reached the scale that it has today but at the time it was far from obvious. We invested heavily in building up the infrastructure.”
  • Rep. Nadler now questions Zuckerberg about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.
    • Zuckerberg says it was a very successful acquisition, Instagram now reaches more people than ever thought possible.
    • Rep. Nadler references newly-leaked emails that show Zuckerberg was worried “Instagram can hurt” Facebook. “In the space of mobile photos and camera apps, which was growing, they were a competitor,” Zuckerberg says today.
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner pivots back to censorship. Asks Zuckerberg about censorship of content including hydroxychloroquine, particularly mentioning Donald Trump Jr. Zuckerberg reminds Sensenbrenner that it was Trump Jr.’s Twitter account was reprimanded, not his Facebook account.
  • Cicilline pushes Pichai on whether Google used web traffic surveillance to find competitive threats:
    • Pichai: “We try to understand trends from data, which we can see, which can be used to improve our products for our users, but we are really focused on improving our products.”
  • Now, it’s time for questioning. First up is Chairman Cicilline, who questions Google’s Pichai about whether or not Google steals content and privileges from other businesses.
    • This is related to allegations from Yelp that Google stole reviews and other content.
    • Pichai: “With respect, I disagree with that characterization.”
  • Finally, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is delivering his opening statement.

  • Third, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is reading his prepared remarks.
    • “In the more than a decade since the App Store debuted, we have never raised the commission or added a single fee. In fact, we have reduced them for subscriptions and exempted additional categories of apps. The App Store evolves with the times, and every change we have made has been in the direction of providing a better experience for our users and a compelling business opportunity for developers.”
    • Read Tim Cook’s full opening statement to today’s antitrust committee
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai is next with opening comments.
    • “Just as American leadership in these areas is not inevitable, we know Google’s continued success is not guaranteed. Google operates in highly competitive and dynamic global markets, in which prices are free or falling, and products are constantly improving.”
    • You can read Pichai’s full prepared remarks here.
  • Now we’re on to opening comments from the witnesses. First up is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
    • “Every day, Amazon competes against large, established players like Target, Costco, Kroger, and, of course, Walmart—a company more than twice Amazon’s size. And while we have always focused on producing a great customer experience for retail sales done primarily online, sales initiated online are now an even larger growth area for other stores.”
    • You can read the full text of his prepared remarks here.
  • Chairman Cicilline invites the four witnesses to unmute their WebEx stream and swear in:

  • Opening comments from Rep. Jim Jordan, who apparently forgot this hearing is about antitrust.
    • “I’ll just cut to the chase: big tech is out to get conservatives.”
    • “If it doesn’t end, there have to be consequences.”
  • Here’s a look at the WebEx setup for this remote hearing:

  • Now onto Jerry Nadler’s opening comments.
    • “These dominant platforms now comprise the essential infrastructure for the 21st century.
  • Opening comments from ranking member Jim Sensenbrenner.
    • “Being big is not necessarily bad. In America, you should be rewarded for your success. My colleagues and I have a great interest in what your companies do with that accumulated power.”
    • We also know that the tech marketplace is driven by data — there are
  • And here we go… kicking off with an opening statement from Chairman David Cicilline emphasizing the bipartisan nature of this investigation.
    • “Our two objectives have been to document competition problems in the digital economy, and to evaluate whether the current antitrust framework is able to properly address them.”
    • “As gatekeepers of the digital economy, these platforms enjoy the power to pick winners and losers, shake down small businesses and enrich themselves while choking off competitors”
  • President Trump weighs in:

  • Update: The antitrust hearing has been delayed for approximately 30 minutes, so we now expect a start sometime between 9:30 a.m. PT and 10 a.m. PT/12:30 pm and 1 p.m. ET.
  • For a more Google-focused look at today’s hearing, be sure to check out our sister site 9to5Google.
  • The hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET. The process will start with opening remarks from all four of the CEOs: Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos.

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