U.S. House Committee Wants Tim Cook to Testify in App Store Antitrust Probe in July

As part of an ongoing probe of competition in digital markets that involves Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this week sent a letter to each company demanding to know whether their CEOs will testify in hearings set to take place in July, reports Axios.

app store ios 13
The antitrust investigators want to know by Sunday whether Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook will have their CEOs attend the hearings voluntarily. They're also seeking a number of materials related to other competition probes and internal communications, with the letters asking questions "on issues related to possible competitive harms."

According to Axios, the letters suggest the Judiciary Committee could send out subpoenas to force testimony and document production if the companies do not comply.

"These are documents that are essential to complete our ongoing, bipartisan investigation of the digital marketplace," antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline said in a statement. "This is the appropriate process to secure their production."

The United States Department of Justice last July launched a broad antitrust review into whether major technology companies are unlawfully stifling competition.

In September 2019, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting details on documents and communications related to the App Store, product repairs, and seller agreements with Amazon.

Much of the focus was on Apple's ‌App Store‌ policies, with questions about the removal of parental control apps from the ‌App Store‌, how search result rankings are determined, how Apple's in-app purchase mechanism works, whether apps are permitted to include in-app links to non-Apple payment systems, policies surrounding setting non-Apple apps as default, and more.

Later that year, investigators began questioning third-party app makers, include those who make parental control apps that were impacted by the release of Apple's Screen Time feature and new ‌App Store‌ restrictions on apps abusing Mobile Device Management.

Apple has been accused of anticompetitive business practices when it comes to the ‌App Store‌, with some developers and companies claiming that Apple's own apps, features, and services have a significant advantage over third-party apps. Spotify, for example, has complained that Apple Music has a distinct advantage because Spotify has to pay Apple a portion of its subscription fees.

With the investigation, U.S. House Judiciary Committee is aiming to produce a report on the findings from the probe that has recommendations for updating antitrust laws.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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.

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
macbook pro january

Best Buy's Black Friday in July Sale Takes Up to $700 Off M3 MacBook Pro for Members

Monday July 15, 2024 11:05 am PDT by
Best Buy's "Black Friday in July" sale is in full swing today, and in addition to a few iPad Air discounts we shared earlier, there are also some steep markdowns on the M3 MacBook Pro. You will need a My Best Buy Plus or Total membership in order to get some of these deals. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small...
ipaos 18 image playground

Apple Releases First iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 Public Betas

Monday July 15, 2024 1:16 pm PDT by
Apple today provided the first betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to public beta testers, bringing the new software to the general public for the first time since the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple has seeded three developer betas so far, and the first public beta includes the same content that's in the third developer beta. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
maxresdefault

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro

Saturday July 13, 2024 8:00 am PDT by
Samsung this week introduced its latest earbuds, the Galaxy Buds3 Pro, which look quite a bit like Apple's AirPods Pro 2. Given the similarities, we thought we'd compare Samsung's new earbuds to the AirPods Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, you could potentially mistake Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro for the AirPods Pro. The Buds3 Pro have the same...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
Generic iOS 18 Feature Real Mock

Apple Seeds Revised Third Betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to Developers

Monday July 15, 2024 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today seeded updated third betas iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming a week after Apple initially released the third betas. Registered developers are able to opt into the betas by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the ‌iOS 18/iPadOS 18‌ Developer Beta ...

Top Rated Comments

TechieGeek Avatar
54 months ago
Anti-competitive policies ultimately hurt the consumer, remember that next time you defend a giant corporation. Competition drives innovation, and preventing competition (i.e., closing your platform so that there’s only one App Store, then promoting your own apps above others in the App Store) is harmful to consumers.

Even us iOS users would benefit from increased competition from third party apps. It would force Apple to innovate.

Imagine how much better Siri could be if people on iPhone had the option to set google assistant as their default voice assistant. Applewood feel immense pressure and might have immensely improved Siri
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
az431 Avatar
54 months ago

Seems like Apple is always involved in anti-trust laws - cook is worse than Jobs and at least he won most if not all the anti-trust lawsuits.
Two lawsuits in 45 years is not "always." That would be like me saying you always spell incorrectly. I'm sure there's been one forum post that you nailed.

And just FYI, Jobs did not "win" any antitrust lawsuits, whatever that means.


Anti-competitive policies ultimately hurt the consumer, remember that next time you defend a giant corporation. Competition drives innovation, and preventing competition (i.e., closing your platform so that there’s only one App Store, then promoting your own apps above others in the App Store) is harmful to consumers.

Even us iOS users would benefit from increased competition from third party apps. It would force Apple to innovate.

Imagine how much better Siri could be if people on iPhone had the option to set google assistant as their default voice assistant. Applewood feel immense pressure and might have immensely improved Siri
ALL businesses enact policies and practices that are anti-competitive. I'm not aware of any company that runs their business to make life easier for their competitors.

That is why there is no such thing as a prohibition on anti-competitive practices. The law regulates anti-competitive practices, and prohibits conduct such as bid rigging and price fixing. Monopolies that arise out of a purely competitive market and vertical-price controls are both anti-competitive, but are in fact, 100% legal.

Just because a policy is anti-competitive does not mean it hurts the consumer. In fact, that's why only certain practices are illegal.

The App Store is indeed a monopoly, but it is not an illegal monopoly, and it most certainly does not hurt consumers. If you think Spotify for iOS would be cheaper if it was offered on a third-party app store, then you don't have a clue.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Awesome Avatar
54 months ago
Looking forward to app defaults in iOS 14 hopefully!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JGIGS Avatar
54 months ago

" Spotify, for example, has complained ('https://www.macrumors.com/2019/03/16/spotify-calls-apple-monopolist/') that Apple Music has a distinct advantage because Spotify has to pay Apple a portion of its subscription fees." Spotify whining again. they have as many paid subscribers as everyone else put together, most people get a subscription outside of the App Store anyway, and on iOS, they offer their crappy service which comes in compressed, has to be decompressed and then recompressed to AAC - because (poor babies, they aren't large enough to stream in a better format, sheesh!). If they were tiny, I could see it. But the industry dominant player? Makes no sense
To be fair Spotify still needs to pay the artists so Apple also getting a chunk of that revenue as well definitely affects their bottom line.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
54 months ago
" Spotify, for example, has complained ('https://www.macrumors.com/2019/03/16/spotify-calls-apple-monopolist/') that Apple Music has a distinct advantage because Spotify has to pay Apple a portion of its subscription fees." Spotify whining again. they have as many paid subscribers as everyone else put together, most people get a subscription outside of the App Store anyway, and on iOS, they offer their crappy service which comes in compressed, has to be decompressed and then recompressed to AAC - because (poor babies, they aren't large enough to stream in a better format, sheesh!). If they were tiny, I could see it. But the industry dominant player? Makes no sense
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rainshadow Avatar
54 months ago

Anti-competitive policies ultimately hurt the consumer, remember that next time you defend a giant corporation. Competition drives innovation, and preventing competition (i.e., closing your platform so that there’s only one App Store, then promoting your own apps above others in the App Store) is harmful to consumers.

Even us iOS users would benefit from increased competition from third party apps. It would force Apple to innovate.

Imagine how much better Siri could be if people on iPhone had the option to set google assistant as their default voice assistant. Applewood feel immense pressure and might have immensely improved Siri
Maybe, but there is also the chance that even Apple isn’t large enough to effectively compete to be TOP DOG in phones, mail, word processors, voice assistants, watches, speakers, wearables, tvs, Browsers, music services, etc etc etc you get my point - and would eventually decide it’s not financially feasible to maintain all categories.

That would lead to services or apps outside of the ecosystem and not designed with such tight integration that Apple enthusiasts enjoy.

look... there is competition. I can always switch to another phone and there is a plethora of android options. That’s where the competition is good. When I choose an Apple product, I choose it for the integration, not because I think EVERYTHING they do is the BEST. Just that everything they do on a whole is a better package than the rest.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)