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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.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.