Apple Inc. has now agreed to send a top executive to the US Senate hearing on AppStore and Google PlayStore. Due to Apple’s refusal to attend the Senate hearing on the given date.
Apple and Antitrust issues
Apple is facing an issue with the US Senate for some time now. In 2019, the US Senate Judiciary Committee launched a full investigation regarding competition in the US tech industry. The issue mainly involved Apple and Google’s respective app stores, AppStore and Google Playstore, for the fairness in digital app markets.
The Senate judiciary committee chairman, David Cicilline (D-RI), criticized its practices in an interview. He addressed the practice of Apple charging 30% of the app’s revenue from publishers as “highway robbery.” The Congressman also stated that Apple’s approach crushed small app developers who cannot sustain such payments.
This issue got bigger when famous game publisher Epic Games was denied access to Apple AppStore for the Fortnite app last year. The publisher sued Apple for breach of US Antitrust laws. The hearing will begin on May 3, 2021.
Refusal to attend the hearing
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights asked Apple to send an executive to testify before it on April 21, 2021. On Friday, the committee members, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), sent a letter to Apple, Tim Cook. The letter stated that “Apple abruptly declared that it would not provide any witness to testify at a hearing in April.”
The Senators stated that the Cupertino company was well-aware “for weeks” about the subcommittee hearing. They said that the issues present before the subcommittee require its presence to ensure a full and fair examination.
This move triggered criticism from many US politicians. The senators said that they strongly urge “to reconsider its position and to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee on time.”
On Sunday, the tech leader released a letter saying that they “simply sought alternative dates in light of upcoming matters.” The company also stated that the company has “deep respect for your role and process on these matters.”
Kyle Andeer to attend the hearing
Apple said that they were “surprised” to receive a letter from the subcommittee. The company would send Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer to testify before the subcommittee on April 21. Kyle Andeer represented the company previously before the US House of Representatives and several States. Senators Lee and Klobuchar responded to the letter. He was glad that the company “changed course and agreed to testify before the committee.”
Responding to Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee, Apple says it will make Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer available at an upcoming hearing on app stores (@markgurman / Bloomberg)https://t.co/8zceJHSJqghttps://t.co/PNNROlXUTn
— Techmeme (@Techmeme) April 11, 2021
Google has already agreed to send an employee to represent itself before the Senate Subcommittee. However, the identity of Google’s representative is not revealed yet.
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