Jul 28, 2020 - Technology

Ex-Microsoft exec on why Satya Nadella wasn't asked to testify

Illustration of balloons carrying the Microsoft logo up and away over other balloons

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Microsoft is just as giant as the other Big Tech firms participating in tomorrow's House antitrust hearing, but a longtime former executive believes it's successfully dodged scrutiny on the issue because of its past antitrust battles.

"Microsoft has done a nice job staying out of the crosshairs on antitrust stuff because they've been through it," Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer between 2005 and 2016, tells Axios. "A lot of people want energy over experience, but in the legal area I think experience matters."

Context: The House Judiciary Committee's House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee tomorrow will hear from Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • As of today's trading, Microsoft has a larger market cap than any of the participants except for Apple.
  • Microsoft in 1998 was charged by the Justice Department with antitrust violations, and the case dragged on for years. The company was initially found guilty, which would have resulted in a breakup, but then won on appeal.
  • Despite the ultimate victory, many believe Microsoft was distracted by the case, thus helping to create an opening for Google to emerge.

Yes, but: Microsoft may get swept up in this century's antitrust battles yet. Slack last week filed a complaint in the European Union arguing that Microsoft harms competition by tying its Teams collaboration software to the Microsoft Office software suite.

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