Google CEO defends big business amid Trump antitrust threats

Amid threats of antitrust action from President Trump and a number of concerns raised by lawmakers this week – Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended the role of big business in boosting U.S. economic growth.

“There are some advantages of big companies, which is we do invest for the long term in foundational technologies," Pichai told Axios. "Areas like AI or quantum computing, all this will no doubt ... end up being big drivers of U.S. leadership, economic growth."

Pichai added that there is in fact a lot of competition among large companies, which he expects to continue into the future.

Google, including YouTube, is reportedly responsible for at least 90 percent of internet searches.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates made similar comments to Axios, saying attacking “bigness” is not necessarily the best strategy.

"[S]trangely, right now, the companies that are the most innovative are ending up having fairly high market shares,” Gates said. “But there are ways that people may not anticipate that there will be a lot of competition."

Throughout recent months, there have been increased calls for regulation of the country’s largest tech companies, like Google, Facebook and Amazon, as privacy and security rises to the forefront of the national discourse.

Trump, while acknowledging companies like Google are “great companies,” said he is considering antitrust action “very seriously” – specifically against Facebook, Google and Amazon.

The search giant has faced billions of dollars in fines from the European Union for allegedly abusing its dominance in the mobile phone market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared to take a shot at some of his Silicon Valley rivals at a conference in Brussels earlier this year, saying opposing privacy regulation “isn’t just wrong, it is destructive” and noted many in the tech world think stricter privacy regulation would prevent businesses from reaching their true potential.

During testimony on Capitol Hill this week, Pichai was forced to defend Google’s search algorithm – as some lawmakers accused the company of bias. He also fielded questions regarding what data the company stores, the influence of nefarious actors during elections and plans for a controversial China-based search engine.