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.

Top Rated Comments

TechieGeek Avatar
15 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
15 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
15 months ago
Looking forward to app defaults in iOS 14 hopefully!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JGIGS Avatar
15 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
15 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
15 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)

Top Stories

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

AirPods Pro Beta Firmware Now Available

Wednesday July 21, 2021 6:50 am PDT by
Upcoming AirPods Pro firmware updates are now available to Apple Developer Program members as beta versions. AirPods Pro firmware beta one features FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction. Custom Transparency mode, including Conversation Boost, was initially expected to be included in the beta but appears to have been delayed for a later version. Apple made the announcement...
maxresdefault

Apple Music to Livestream Premiere of Kanye West's New Album 'Donda' on Thursday

Wednesday July 21, 2021 1:49 am PDT by
Apple Music on Thursday will host a global livestream for the premiere of Kanye West's tenth studio album, titled "Donda." The sold-out event will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and Apple Music's livestream will start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The livestream was revealed in a Beats Studio Buds ad that aired during the NBA Finals. The ad features U.S. track...
General Apps Messages

All Three Major U.S. Carriers and Google Adopt Rich Communication Services, But No Sign of Apple Interest

Tuesday July 20, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
For the last several years, Google has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. RCS is designed to replace SMS, the current text message standard, and it offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, better encryption, improved group chat, and more. Verizon today announced that it is planning to adopt...
ios wifi settings

Apple Confirms iOS 14.7 Fixes WiFi Bug and Many Other Vulnerabilities

Wednesday July 21, 2021 11:38 am PDT by
Following the release of iPadOS 14.7 this morning, Apple has shared details on the security updates that are included in iOS 14.7, iPadOS 14.7, macOS Big Sur 11.5, watchOS 7.6, and tvOS 14.7, all of which came out this week. Notably, Apple's documentation confirms that the iOS 14.7 and iPadOS 14.7 updates address a WiFi-related vulnerability that could impact iOS devices when joining a...
macOS Malware Feature

Common Windows Malware Can Now Infect Macs

Wednesday July 21, 2021 8:13 am PDT by
A common form of malware on Windows systems has been modified into a new strain called "XLoader" that can also target macOS (via Bleeping Computer). Derived from the Formbook info-stealer for Windows, XLoader is a form of cross-platform malware advertised as a botnet with no dependencies. It is used to steal login credentials, capture screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files. ...
macOS Big Sur Feature Orange

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.5 With Podcast App Updates and Bug Fixes

Wednesday July 21, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.5, the fifth major update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November 2020. macOS Big Sur 11.5 comes two months after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.4. The new ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌‌ 11.5 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. macOS Big Sur...
idos 2 app ios

Apple to Pull 'iDOS 2' DOS Emulator From App Store

Thursday July 22, 2021 3:22 pm PDT by
iDOS 2, an app designed to allow users to play classic DOS games, will soon be pulled from the App Store, the app's creator said today. According to iDOS developer Chaoji Li, he tried to submit an iDOS update with bug fixes to the App Store, but was told that the update was rejected because it violated the 2.5.2 App Store guideline that says apps cannot install or launch executable code.Durin...
airpods 3 gizmochina Feature

AirPods 3 Rumored to Launch Alongside iPhone 13 at Expected September Event

Friday July 23, 2021 12:54 am PDT by
The third-generation AirPods will likely launch at the same event revealing Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup, according to a report from DigiTimes, which makes the claim citing sources familiar with the matter. The report as a whole echoes previous reporting that production of the third-generation AirPods will kickstart in August, meaning a launch shortly after can be easily expected. DigiTi...
iPad mini pro feature

Next-Generation iPad Mini Will Reportedly Feature a Mini-LED Display

Thursday July 22, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple is widely rumored to be planning a new iPad mini with a significant redesign, including a larger 8.5-inch to 9-inch display with slimmer bezels, a Touch ID power button instead of a home button, a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector, and more. According to a paywalled preview of a DigiTimes report today, the sixth-generation iPad mini will also feature a mini-LED display:BLU...
airpods 3 gizmochina Feature teal

AirPods 3 Mass Production Said to Kick Off in August

Tuesday July 20, 2021 8:40 pm PDT by
Mass production of the third-generation AirPods will kick off in August, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. They will reportedly join a number of other products such as the iPhone 13 lineup and redesigned MacBook Pro models as launches coming before the end of the year. Renderings of rumored third-generation AirPods design Rumored launch dates for the third-generation AirPods have...