Microsoft may have complained to Congress about App Store antitrust

Microsoft president may have complained to Congress about App Store antitrust issues

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Microsoft Windows
Microsoft vs. Apple? It's like the 1990s all over again!
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft President Brad Smith reportedly raised concerns to the U.S. government about Apple’s management of the App Store, which he considers anti-competitive.

The two companies’ infamous rivalry has cooled somewhat since its 1990s peak, but Apple and Microsoft aren’t exactly BFFs either.

Smith, who also serves as Microsoft’s chief legal officer, spoke several weeks ago with the House of Representatives’ antitrust subcommittee. He talked about Microsoft’s antitrust battle with the U.S. government during the late 1990s.

Microsoft’s App Store antitrust issues

He also voiced concerns about Apple’s current behavior, according to The Information.

This week’s report does not come as a massive shocker. During a recent Politico Live interview, Smith said “the time has come” for the government to investigate “prices and the tolls that are being extracted” from developers. He also suggested that the current App Store policy is far more worthy of investigation than the actions that got Microsoft in trouble with antitrust investigators a couple decades back.

Smith did not mention Apple by name in that interview. However, a Microsoft spokesperson later said that he was indeed talking about Apple.

Microsoft is not alone when it comes to complaining about Apple’s App Store behavior. Several app developers accused Apple of behaving in an overly controlling manner and taking an unfair cut of revenue. Apple defends itself against what it suggests are developers wanting to use its established infrastructure without paying their share.

The Yale Law Journal recently published a paper titled “The Antitrust Case Against Apple.” Its main argument is that Apple has “exploited its market power” through the App Store. This allowed the company to “impose a 30% tax and extract supracompetitive profits,” leading to higher prices and reduced innovation.

Apple CEO Tim Cook will testify in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation committee on July 27. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also will give speak about their own companies as part of the antitrust hearing.

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