Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, will be attending an antitrust hearing of the Antitrust Subcommittee on, along with Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, Alphabet / Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, next Monday House The information takes a look at Cook’s reluctance to attend the hearing and how he and Apple tried to find their way in a polarized political environment.
About two weeks after the other tech CEOs agreed to attend the hearing, Cook was still afraid of getting involved in issues that are more relevant to those companies other than Apple.
There was a simple reason for his delay. According to people who are familiar with his thinking, Cook firmly believed that Apple was not part of a group of companies increasingly viewed by lawmakers and regulators, including Amazon, Facebook and Google, as antitrust violators. In addition, Cook had spent a lot of time over the past four years avoiding the toxic political environment that has hit the CEOs of these companies in everything from data protection to censorship to worker treatment.
Under pressure from a possible subpoena from representative David Cicilline, committee chair and critic of Apple’s App Store guidelines, Cook finally agreed to attend the hearing.
The report indicates that Cook has spent most of the month preparing for the hearing, which can span a variety of topics, from App Store guidelines to Apple’s disputes with the FBI about providing methods for law enforcement to access locked devices for Apple’s relationship with China.
The full Paywalled report goes into much more detail on how Cook has finely balanced relations at both ends of the political spectrum and tries to stay largely out of the fight by silence. This approach has helped Apple maintain stability in turbulent times, win exemptions for many of its products, and avoid much of the testing that was directed at other technology companies.
Still, Apple and Cook are not entirely immune to criticism, and it remains to be seen whether the hearing next week will lead to antitrust and other measures.
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