Bloomberg reports that Apple has declined to send a witness for an upcoming hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on anticompetitive practices of app stores. The panel’s chair and ranking Republican, Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee said that majority of mobile apps are downloaded from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, therefore, the companies were asked to send a witness to the hearing to answer allegations of anticompetitive practices.
Apple declines to send a witness for antitrust Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
Since 2020, Apple is facing multiple antitrust investigations in the U.S, UK, EU, France, Japan, and other countries. The regulators are probing the company’s control of its digital marketplace and especially, its 30% share cut for all in-app purchases which developers like Spotify, Epic Games, and others have filed complaints against.
As per the report, the committee’s letter to Apple CEO, Tim Cook expressed concern over the company’s refusal to provide a witness to discuss the allegations levied against its app store practices.
We write regarding Apple Inc.’s refusal to provide a witness to testify in a timely manner before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights at a hearing to examine the competition issues raised by app stores.
More than half of internet traffic comes through mobile phones, whose users rely on mobile applications to access online content and services—and the vast majority of mobile apps are downloaded from either Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. Apple’s power over the cost, distribution, and availability of mobile applications on the Apple devices used by millions of consumers raises serious competition issues that are of interest to the Subcommittee, consumers, and app developers. A full and fair examination of these issues before the Subcommittee requires Apple’s participation.
Unconvinced by the provided excuse of Apple’s legal battle with Epic Games, the Senators urged the company to send a witness for the hearing.
Finally, your staff has noted ongoing litigation as the reason for not providing a witness this month. Many other representatives of companies, both inside and outside of the technology sector, have testified before Congress in similar circumstances, and your staff was aware of the ongoing litigation when they were initially working with us to provide a witness. Apple’s sudden change in course to refuse to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee on app store competition issues in April, when the company is clearly willing to discuss them in other public forums, is unacceptable.
We strongly urge Apple to reconsider its position and to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee in a timely manner.
Apple has yet to respond on this matter.