Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google defended their business practices in responses to questions posed by a congressional committee investigating antitrust issues in the tech sector. The investigation is exploring competition in online markets and whether big tech companies are engaging in “anti-competitive conduct.”
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday released the companies’ responses to detailed questions the committee put forward in September about the companies and their competitors in online commerce and content; communications related to acquisitions; and other competition matters.
The House probe comes as tech giants face a flood of scrutiny from government regulators, who’ve targeted them over potential anti-competitive behavior, privacy breaches and data misuse. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the two US agencies that handle antitrust issues, are looking into tech companies’ business practices.
In its response, Google denied favoring its own services over its competitors in search, video and internet browsers, according to Reuters. “The vast majority” of clicks from Google searches go to non-Google websites, the company said.
However, Google said it couldn’t provide much of the data requested by the committee, according to Reuters.
“We do not have a standard definition for what searches are considered ‘location searches’ and thus, cannot provide the specific information requested,” Google said in one response.
Facebook acknowledged blocking some third-party apps from its developer platform for replicating core functionality, Reuters reported. When asked for details about why it removed apps such as Phhhoto, MessageMe, Voxer and Stackla, Facebook responded that it “will restrict apps that violate its policies,” without elaborating, Reuters reported.
Apple addressed questions about its browser and App Store commissions, but when asked how much it had spent on development of its Maps app, Apple responded only by saying “billions,” Reuters reported.
Facebook denied using aggregated data from merchants to launch, source or price private-label products, Reuters reported.
Amazon and Google declined further comment. Representatives for Apple and Facebook didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.