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Top US tech execs cite 'highly competitive' markets ahead of antitrust hearing

The top executives from prominent U.S.-based tech platforms will portray their companies as assets to American leadership in technology and innovation in testimony to Congress on July 29, according to executives' prepared statements.

Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook will all testify virtually as part of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust investigation into online platforms.

Senior committee aides told reporters last week that the aim of the hearing and investigation is to document competition problems online and to assess whether the current antitrust laws and enforcement levels are adequate.

In prepared testimony, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg describes his company as "a proudly American company" and contrasted the company's professed values to the actions of China.

"We believe in values — democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression — that the American economy was built on," Zuckerberg said.

China, Zuckerberg warned, is building its own version of the internet that is "focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries."

Addressing Congress' consideration of antitrust laws, Zuckerberg said he believes "it's important to maintain the core values of openness and fairness that have made America's digital economy a force for empowerment and opportunity here and around the world."

Similarly, Pichai touted Alphabet's work and investments in U.S. technology as an asset to American leadership.

Through investment in research and development, Pichai says, the company's teams of engineers "are helping America solidify its position as the global leader in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, and quantum computing."

However, Pichai warned that American leadership and Alphabet's success in these areas is not inevitable or guaranteed.

"Google operates in highly competitive and dynamic global markets, in which prices are free or falling, and products are constantly improving," he said.

The comments from the executives come at a time of increased federal scrutiny toward Chinese tech and telecom companies due to national security concerns, but also intense examination of U.S. tech practices across the federal government.

Beyond the House investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the U.S. Justice Department is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet's Google as early as this summer, with state attorneys general likely to file a similar case in the fall.

Facebook is currently subject to an antitrust probe from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a separate investigation from a group of state attorneys general.

The Justice Department also has a separate investigation into the market power of online platforms.

Apple's Cook also said in prepared testimony that competition is strong in Apple's markets.

"The smartphone market is fiercely competitive," he said, pointing to companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Google. He said these companies have built "very successful smartphone businesses offering different approaches."

"Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business," added Cook.

Similarly, Bezos is set to tell lawmakers that the global retail market Amazon competes in is "strikingly large and extraordinarily competitive."

Amazon faces new competition from companies like Shopify Inc. and Instacart, and "a growing list of omnichannel business models," Bezos said in prepared testimony.