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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House antitrust investigators are pressing Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook to say by Sunday whether their CEOs will testify as part of the Judiciary Committee's tech competition probe, Axios has learned.

The big picture: The public grilling of the heads of the biggest tech companies would come as scrutiny over the power of their platforms heats up.

Details: The Judiciary Committee this week sent the companies letters, seen by Axios, seeking documents and answers to the CEO testimony question. The panel wants to hold a hearing with the executives next month.

  • The letters raise the prospect of subpoenas to force testimony and document production if the companies don't comply voluntarily.
  • "These are documents that are essential to complete our ongoing, bipartisan investigation of the digital marketplace," antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline said in a statement. "This is the appropriate process to secure their production.”
  • Documents the lawmakers are after include materials the companies have produced in response to other competition probes and internal communications. They also pose a range of questions to each company on issues related to possible competitive harms.
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers already raised the prospect of compelling Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify in a letter last month.

Background: Cicilline has said he wants to hear directly from the CEOs as part of the review, which is set to ultimately produce a report with findings from the probe and potential recommendations for updating antitrust law.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

Why Amazon committed $2 billion to fund clean energy technology

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Matt Peterson, a senior Amazon exec, joined the "Axios Re:Cap" podcast to explain the thinking behind the tech and commerce giant's climate venture capital fund, which rolled out its first investments on Thursday.

Why it matters: The fund, $2 billion to start, is beginning to invest on the heels of Amazon's late 2019 pledge to be net-zero emissions by 2040.

Sep 18, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: FTC commissioner on data privacy, antitrust, Section 230

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Republican member of the Federal Trade Commission Noah Phillips intends to stay at the agency through the end of his term, which is up in about three years, and has not yet decided what happens after, he told Axios during a taping of C-Span's "The Communicators" this week.

Why it matters: Phillips is one of three Republicans serving on the five-member agency, along with Chairman Joe Simons and Republican commissioner Christine Wilson. Their perspective holds sway at an agency that is pursuing big tech more aggressively than in the past, but still moves meticulously when bringing antitrust cases.

In photos: Life slowly returning to normal as restrictions lift across U.S.

Fireworks near the Statue of Liberty in New York City marking the end of New York State's pandemic restrictions in New York State and honoring frontline workers. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New Yorkers and Californians celebrated most COVID-19 restrictions lifting on Tuesday, as the two states became the latest to move toward fully reopening their economies.

The big picture: The pandemic has now claimed over 600,000 lives in the U.S., but vaccines have helped drive down the seven-day average to roughly 14,000 new cases and fewer than 400 deaths per day, helping most states to ease restrictions.