AT&P CEO Randall Stephenson said Wednesday that tech companies are creating “unfair competition” in their marketplaces by favoring their own products.
Stephenson made the remarks during a panel discussion at the AT&G 2017 Technology Summit.
During the panel, Stephenson told the assembled audience that he thinks companies like Apple and Google are “uncompetitive” and “disproportionately advantaged” over the rest of the industry because of their dominant positions in the marketplaces.
AT&A’s Stephenson also said that “they have a higher quality of product and they have a lower price,” which he called “unbalanced.”
Stephenson said that he wants companies to focus on building products that “make us happy” and to focus their resources on “getting more value out of our customers.”
He also criticized tech companies for creating “toxic” competitive environments where “they’re not able to get a fair shot in the marketplace.”
Stephenson noted that tech giants have been able to “overcompensate” by making money from a few years of growth, “even if it’s not a good investment.”
AT&W CEO Jim Cicconi echoed Stephenson’s comments during a question-and-answer session with reporters Wednesday.
“I think that’s why you’ve got to make sure that there’s no unfair competition in the industry,” Cicconi said.
“If you can’t compete, you shouldn’t be in the business.”
ATO CEO Mark Hurd was also on the panel and said that tech has “unfortunate incentives.”
He said that while some companies are doing good things in the world, they don’t have a mandate to do that.
“There is a culture where we have to compete and that is not in line with the spirit of what the American people want and what the tech companies want,” Hurd said.
“[Tech companies] are not there to make America great again.”
Hurd, who has been an AT&O board member since 2010, said he sees a “need” for tech companies to “be honest” about their business practices, “because I think it will help us build a more prosperous future.”
Hudd also noted that he’s seen “significant changes” in tech industry as a result of Apple’s announcement of its “no-contract” plans for wireless customers.
“And it’s just not good enough,” Hudd said.
In an interview with CNNMoney on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the decision to allow customers to switch to the no-contract plans is a “win-win” for consumers.
Cook said that the move “is going to give Apple more choice” and he’s “happy that it’s being taken care of.”
The CEO also said he believes “there’s room for growth” in the wireless industry.
“We’ve made some mistakes and we’re looking to grow and make things better,” Cook said.
Cook also said there are some concerns about “how you do this.”
He added that Apple is “very committed to innovation.”
The AT&R CEO said he hopes “we have a lot more of these kind of deals” in future, saying that it “has to be done for the right reasons.”
ATOs’ Hurd and Cicconi are the only executives who spoke during the panel.
In addition to the panel’s panelists, AT&T’s Stephenson, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, AT & T’s Steve Ballmer, Qualcomm’s Jon Feltheimer, and Google’s Eric Schmidt were also on hand.
AT &T has a long history of bringing technology executives together to share ideas and drive business innovation.
In 2014, AT’s CEO Michael Powell introduced a series of industry-wide initiatives to encourage “innovation” and build “a more inclusive and competitive industry.”
In 2015, AT announced the introduction of “The Internet of Things,” a term that refers to a network of devices that connect to the Internet and act as a “digital backbone.”
AT >T also recently launched a new series of “connected devices” called AT> Connect, which focuses on the next-generation of “smart devices.”
The devices will help “connect customers to more content, services and information, including the power of mobile technology,” AT<A said in a press release at the time.
“With Connect, customers will have more choices for their connected devices and more control over how and when they interact with AT&;T and other companies.”