A Democratic Representative, David Cicilline shared in an interview with Kara Swisher in her ‘Recode Decode Podcast that Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook plans to testify in the upcoming U.S Antitrust hearing with the U.S House judiciary subcommittee.
The U.S antitrust committee is investigating competition in digital markets of leading service providers of the tech industry like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. The investigation was announced in June and letters asking to testify were sent out to all four CEOs. Thus, heads of other tech giants will also appear at the hearing later in July,
- Tim Cook, Apple
- Sundar Pichai, Alphabet/Google
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon
It will be the first time for Bezos to testify in front of a committee. Cook, Pichai, and Zuckerberg have testified in front of authorities before.
Cicilline, who has become one of the biggest critics of the enormous power tech wields, said that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook of Apple will testify in front of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) July 1, 2020
App Store Under Anti-trust Probe
Apple’s policies had been under scrutiny since 2019. In the past, the company has been questioned about:
- Removal of parental control apps from the App Store
- Determination of search result rankings
- In-app purchase mechanism
- Apps including in-app links to non-Apple payment systems
- Setting non-Apple apps as default
The U.S. antitrust sub-committee is looking into Apple’s App Store agreements with developers. Complaints were filed in June that the fees taken from developers in the company’s digital app ecosystem are similar to “Highway robbery”. The complaints are targeting Apple’s 30% cut from in-app purchases and subscriptions via the App Store.
The EU is also launching two antitrust probes looking into Apple Pay and the App Store. The probe will look into Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases, and the terms and conditions that apply to Apple Pay. Apple had previously responded to these allegations as “baseless”.
Tim Cook will likely be questioned about Apple’s App Store policies and the rising concerns that the committee heard from Apple’s developers. The investigation is still in its early stages but the committee will generate a report with recommendations on legislative actions to reform and regulate the digital market.
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