Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Half fun, half serious: How tech CEOs react to an antitrust investigation

General counsel to CEO: "Sir, we have a problem. I just got a call from the Federal Trade Commission. In one hour, the FTC will announce a formal investigation of our allegedly anticompetitive conduct."

11 tech leaders and how they respond to this development:

Jeff Bezos (Amazon): "I thought the Washington Post would shield us from this forever! Now I gotta buy the New York Times, too. And if all else fails, CNN. Take that, Trump!"

Tim Cook (Apple): "Political crap! But finally Android is useful for something. We'll point to all those dumbphones to prove we don't have monopoly power. I'll just have to keep my mouth shut about people not using them to access the Internet. And maybe that Qualcomm guy had a point about duct tape?"

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook): "Was there no prior indication on those FTC lawyers' Facebook profiles? I thought we'd figure this out early. But here's the biggest question: Can I run for President if we're still being investigated then or will we have to temporarily restructure the company?"

Larry Page (Google parent Alphabet): "We're innocent because 'Don't Be Evil.' Why are they doing this to the most politically correct company in the world? Are they confusing data privacy for competition enforcement by any chance?"

Ren Zhengfei (Huawei): "Those American trade warriors will stop at nothing to shut us out of their market. Unfortunately, we have to cancel all executive travel to countries that might extradite any of us. I trust those white-collar prisons in America are good, but I'll pass."

Ginni Rometty (IBM): "They could at least have waited until the last mainframe is switched off for good. Call Chuck Schumer and tell him how bad this is for the New York State job market. But don't tell him that New York banks will save money on their IT infrastructure if the government gets its way. That would be too much of a conflict for him to digest, and I don't want to have to outdonate Goldman Sachs."

Searching... (Intel): "I know it's counterintuitive, but it's actually good news. Being in the crosshairs of competition enforcers is the best benchmark. After all those boring years, we're now more relevant than ever."

Satya Nadella (Microsoft): "This is so 1990s! Don't they realize how much we've changed? We're now a genuine open-source cloud AI company while Steve Ballmer is watching basketball all day and Bill Gates is growing GMOs in Africa. They'll have to let the NEW Microsoft off the hook, I'm confident."

Larry Ellison (Executive Chairman & CTO, Oracle): "Who are the damn complainants? Can't we just buy'em all on our next acquisition spree? That would be my preferred strategy for dealing with this."

Steve Mollenkopf (Qualcomm): "We already have a dozen law firms on the case and now we'll double down on investor relations, public relations, sponsorship of researchers and analysts, think tanks, everything that money can buy! Blame Obama, Apple or Huawei-or all three, depending on whom you talk to--and tell Wall Street we'll settle this soon on very favorable terms. And now you have ten months to secure a patent injunction against the FTC's mobile phones and email servers."

Elon Musk (Tesla): "I have a plan for our planet: in the middle of the night I'll lay off another 5,000 people and let the underpaid remaining employees work even harder to offset the impact of this on our business. That's what I--I mean, THEY--just have to do to combat climate change."

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