Antitrust probe to target 'copy-acquire-kill' strategies of big tech companies

Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • CEOs of four tech giants will testify at an antitrust probe, Wednesday.
  • One line of investigation will be "copy-acquire-kill" strategies.
  • Panelists say they have "very specific language from top-level executives" about the practice.

An antitrust probe Wednesday featuring testimony from Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Sundar Pichai will likely include a focus on "copy-acquire-kill" strategies allegedly employed by the companies.

According to The Washington Post:

Some of the evidence lawmakers have amassed is set to be furnished publicly for the first time Wednesday. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), one of the panel members who will question the companies, said a few of the documents evince a "copy-acquire-kill" strategy on the part of tech companies to buy or suppress potential rivals. The Democratic lawmaker said the committee has seen some "very specific language from top-level executives about that," but she declined to offer specifics.

There is no indication regarding which "executives" this could refer to, however, it's notable that Jayapal used the plural, so likely it may be more than one, or indeed all of the companies involved. More likely, it could refer to Facebook, which has absorbed rivals like Instagram and WhatsApp, or Apple, which has been criticized for "sherlocking" the features of competitor third party apps, and which drew ire after buying weather app Dark Sky only to kill off the Android version of the app.

The report notes that both Democrats and Republicans sitting on the committee have "grand aspirations" regarding the rethinking of federal laws governing big tech and competition. Rep. Joe Neguse reportedly stated:

"In order for the hearing to be a productive hearing and a success, in my view, it ultimately must lead to statutory recommendations made on a bipartisan basis, being pursued by a full Congress. "It has to happen... I think it's long overdue."

The hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 29 at 12 pm, and all four CEOs are set to appear remotely at the hearing.

Stephen Warwick