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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.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO blames predecessors for manufacturing woes

Axios on HBO

When it comes to Intel's recent manufacturing problems, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger places the blame squarely on his predecessors — many of whom he notes were not engineers deeply steeped in chip technology, as he is.

Why it matters: Gelsinger has announced a broad plan to reinvigorate Intel by doubling down on manufacturing. However, the strategy depends on the venerable semiconductor giant recovering from recent stumbles.