What Did 4 Tech Honchos + Congress Do? Play Dodgeball!

By Paul Maxwell Report Archives
Cover image for  article: What Did 4 Tech Honchos + Congress Do? Play Dodgeball!

Well, it was somewhat, if often tedious, amusing. And it was amusingly predictable that some tech glitches would happen at the beginning.

Let's be clear here … this is about four putative heads of four of the very biggest American companies who all rely on the internet for their business without (except in one case*) really paying for any underlying distribution costs (outside of a couple of clouds).

It was Zoom (oops, really Cisco's WebEx) on steroids … sort of.

Some aspects of the performances were predictable - some Congress folk clearly lacking any real knowledge of what the remote executives were talking about, coupled with a lot of canned responses from Facebook's Zuckerberg. One surprise was Alphabet's (Uh, … pause, uh, uh) Pichai's confusion about what Google actually does … he's promised a lot of follow-up. Frankly, I doubt anything substantive will get filed anywhere but a trashcan.

Some folks in Congress just don't like anything about those four well-paid (cue music indicating soft understanding combined with jealousy) tech chiefs and their almost too-important-for-questioning companies.

So, takeaways:

1)There's a good case for breaking up Facebook … by nullifying their purchases of Instagram and What's App. (An aside: can the U.S. do that? The short answer is probably.) Facebook's origin is clouded by Winklevoss's, of course, and that plus the company's tendency to copy or acquire instead of innovate is questionable. Rhode Island's David Cicilline does his homework. Solid questions, wishy-washy answers. And the Chair of the House Antitrust Subcommittee had done his homework as well.

2)In a testament with a grin, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post noted his boss came off the best because, as he noted, "Bezos, who also owns The Post, handled them all with grace and aplomb. Also, he was handsome, charming and well-dressed."

3)Republicans seemed to simply whine about being dissed and ignored online somehow … all notwithstanding a large number of Republican leaning websites, newsletters and whatever.

4)All four tech execs then beat earnings expectations on Thursday. Apple's stock jumped 11% and announced a four for one stock split. Alphabet was up. Facebook revenue was up 11%. Amazon's growth engine AWS (web services) slowed to only 29% while everybody in America shopped on …and on… Which leads to the Wall Street question, "What pandemic?"

*Google has built out fiber. Quit when it wasn't immediately a really big deal. And now they're once again sort of rolling in out in a market or two.

Random Notes: And the pandemic rages on while, our President whines that nobody likes him anymore.Stay safe.

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