U.S. House Committee Asks Apple to Send Info About App Store Policies and More as Part of Antitrust Investigation

As part of a bipartisan investigation of competition in digital markets, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting that the company provide any documents and executive communications related to its various policies for the App Store, product repairs, and more.


The investigation seeks any internal documents or communication involving Apple executives, such as emails, for the following topics:

  • Apple's decision to remove from the ‌App Store‌ or to impose any restrictions on certain parental control apps, including Freedom, Kidslox, Mobicip, OurPact, and Qustodio

  • Apple's ‌App Store‌ algorithm for determining rankings in search results

  • Apple's policy related to the ‌App Store‌'s in-app purchase mechanism and its revenue split

  • Apple's policy regarding whether apps are permitted to include in-app links to non-Apple payment systems

  • Apple's policy regarding whether users can set non-Apple apps as default, such as web browsers and music, maps, and email apps

  • Apple's policy regarding whether to allow any third-party app store beyond the ‌App Store‌ on the iPhone

  • Apple's decision to "sherlock" any functionality from third-party apps, including any discussions about Clue, Duet Display, and SwiftKey

  • Apple's policy regarding whether third-party web browsers must use a specific rendering engine, such as WebKit

  • Apple's restrictions on third-party repairs

  • Apple's decision to offer discounted iPhone battery replacements throughout 2018, or the actual or projected effects of this decision, including any effect on ‌iPhone‌ sales

  • Apple's decision to introduce the Independent Repair Provider Program

  • Apple's agreement to sell products on Amazon and corresponding move to limit unauthorized resellers on Amazon

The Committee has requested that Apple respond no later than October 14, 2019 and also sent similar letters to Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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13 months ago
Incoming "it's Apple's store they can do what they want" comments from uneducated people.

Quit comparing the Apple Store to other stores. On iPhones, the App Store is the ONLY store. Because of this, Apple can potentially be anti-competitive (potentially is key word there, not saying they are).

These probes are warranted. Whether Apple is violating antitrust laws or not is up to the regulators.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
Too bad they mailed it to the wrong address.

https://judiciary.house.gov/sites/democrats.judiciary.house.gov/files/documents/Apple%20RFI%20-%20Signed.pdf
[doublepost=1568385884][/doublepost]

Incoming "it's Apple's store they can do what they want" comments from uneducated people.

Quit comparing the Apple Store to other stores. On iPhones, the App Store is the ONLY store. Because of this, Apple can potentially be anti-competitive (potentially is key word there, not saying they are).

These probes are warranted. Whether Apple is violating antitrust laws or not is up to the regulators.

Your definition of marketplace ("On iPhones, the App Store is the ONLY store") is contrary to antitrust law.

But whatever....
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

Incoming "it's Apple's store they can do what they want" comments from uneducated people.

Quit comparing the Apple Store to other stores. On iPhones, the App Store is the ONLY store. Because of this, Apple can potentially be anti-competitive (potentially is key word there, not saying they are).

These probes are warranted. Whether Apple is violating antitrust laws or not is up to the regulators.

Apple store is the only store because it gives me as a consumer, the confidence than more often than not, Apple will protect my data from apps whose intention is to gather data and share it with outside. I have the confidence that more often than not Apple will block any apps which has potential malicious intent and unsuspecting consumers might install that app if not for the app store and wind up in a situation similar to the one google had last week where 30 million android devices had malware infused app

The walled garden approach has been in play since 2007+. its been over 12 years now. every iPhone owner today is aware of its existence. Every ipHone owner has purchased the iPhone despite knowing it because they have accepted that this is the approach they feel will make their phone more often than not more secure than other vendors .
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
Man, can we file anti trust requests to our governments?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
The games Apple promotes in the Today and Games views are nearly always freemium games with consumable IAPs. Funny that, hey!

Apple isn’t this bastion of the moral high ground.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

These are not "regulators" looking into Apple, it is Congressman Jerry Nadler, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and the rest of the House Judiciary Committee. I don't know the backgrounds of all the members of the committee but I have my doubts about whether the committee leadership can even spell "Apple" let alone impartially evaluate their business model and the numerous trade offs between "walled gardens", app reviews, EULAs, etc. I would feel a little better if it really were "regulators" looking into this as they would be more likely to be knowledgeable about the technology and the market and they would likely be less partisan. Anyone who thinks the House Judiciary Committee is "bipartisan" hasn't been paying attention, it is probably the most partisan committee in the House.

Yes, that’s a big problem. These politicians really show their ignorance when you watch any coverage of them on TV. It’s very close to being silly sometimes.

If there are any good intentions in these probes, it is usually lost due to the ignorance of the politicians involved - I don’t care if they are Republican or Democrat.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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