CEOs of four major tech companies stood before U.S. attorney generals from 48 states on Wednesday for a pivotal antitrust probe, so today’s episode is all about trust or the lack of thereof.
It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, July 31, and I’m your host, Baneet Braich.
First up is an internal email exchange between the Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other leaders of Apple on Amazon’s Kindle app. According to the email released by the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, an Amazon ad that showed a user switching between an iPhone and Android phone to read books on the Kindle app irked Steve Jobs. Philip Schiller, Apple marketing chief, wrote to Jobs that Amazon’s app needs to use Apple’s in-app purchase system. In a reply, Jobs agreed, saying that “it’s time for them to decide to use our payment mechanism or be thrown out.” Because of the rule change and Amazon’s refusal, Kindle readers cannot pay for books 10 years on.
Next up is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unable to answer whether Amazon accesses data on third-party sellers. In a tweet, representative Pramila Jayapal asked Bezos about a Wall Street Journal report that said Amazon had access to third-party sellers and that rules around protecting the data are not enforced. “I can’t answer that question yes or no,” said Bezos, saying only that Amazon has a policy against seller-specific data to aid Amazon’s label business. Bezos then added “I can’t guarantee you that the policy hasn’t been violated.” Sounds reassuring, doesn’t it?
Amazon's Assoc. General Counsel told me under oath that Amazon does NOT, “use any specific seller data when creating its own private brand product.”
Reports revealed that was a lie: that they DO access data on third party sellers.
So I just asked Jeff Bezos which it is. Watch: pic.twitter.com/MiR7NHI7Y8
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 29, 2020
As Google CEO Sundar Pachai was being scrutinized in the hearing, the European Union antitrust regulators have launched an investigation into Google’s purchase of Fitbit fitness tracker. The investigation is expected to last for four months, and will center around whether Google will use Fitbit’s health data to create targeted ads. The tech company announced in November 2019 that it would purchase Fitbit for US$2.1 billion, but questions surrounding trust has stalled the deal from being approved.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing.I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening.