Apple won’t testify for Senate committee with App Store antitrust questions

Apple gives Senate antitrust testimony a hard pass

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Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices during the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing.
Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices at a Congressional hearing in 2020.
Photo: C-SPAN

A Senate subcommittee wants to ask Google and Apple antitrust-related questions about their software stores, but the iPhone-maker reportedly turned down a request to testify.

Apple told Senators it could not do so because of ongoing litigation. That’s probably a reference to the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit currently in the pre-trial phase.

The Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights is planning a hearing “to examine the competition issues raised by app stores,” according to its chairperson, Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Friday, she send a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday saying:

“Apple has been aware for weeks that the Subcommittee was planning a hearing on this topic and was engaged in discussions with our staff regarding who would testify on Apple’s behalf. Yet a little more than two weeks [16 days] before the planned hearing, Apple abruptly declared that it would not provide any witness to testify at a hearing in April.”

Google will testify about the Play Store at the hearing.

Apple App Store antitrust accusations

Apple faces accusations that it abuses its control of the App Store. That includes Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, who’s taking the iPhone-maker to court in May. It’s apparently this case that caused Apple to bow out of the Senate subcommittee’s hearing.

And the company is facing scrutiny beyond U.S. borders. Government agencies in the E.U. and U.K. are looking into whether the iPhone App Store violates their antitrust laws.

Apple’s answer to the challenges is that it spent billions of dollars making the App Store what it is, and the company deserves to profit from it. “Apple has helped build an economy that’s over a half a trillion dollars a year, half a trillion, and takes a very small sliver of that for the innovation that it unleashed and the expense of running the store,” said Tim Cook in a recent interview.