Apple Agrees to Provide Executive to Testify At Upcoming App Store Senate Hearing

Apple has agreed to provide its chief compliance officer, Kyle Andeer, to the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel for a hearing on anti-competitive practices for mobile app stores on April 21, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

app store blue banner
Earlier this week, Apple refused to provide an executive for the hearing around anti-competitive practices on online stores. In a letter obtained by Bloomberg News, Apple says that it has deep respect for the role and job of the subcommittee and that it was simply seeking alternative dates for the hearing due to its coming trial with Epic Games, also about the App Store.

“We have deep respect for your role and process on these matters and, as we told your staff, we are willing to participate in a hearing in the subcommittee,” Apple said. “We simply sought alternative dates in light of upcoming matters that have been scheduled for some time and that touch on similar issues.”

The U.S Senate subcommittee is focused on investigating claims that Apple and Google participate in anti-competitive practices for their respective online app marketplaces and distribution platforms. In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Mike Lee say that Apple's control and power over apps on its device warrant a "full and fair examination."

More than half of internet traffic comes through mobile phones, whose users rely on mobile applications to access online content and services—and the vast majority of mobile apps are downloaded from either Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. Apple’s power over the cost, distribution, and availability of mobile applications on the Apple devices used by millions of consumers raises serious competition issues that are of interest to the Subcommittee, consumers, and app developers. A full and fair examination of these issues before the Subcommittee requires Apple’s participation.

Google had previously already agreed to provide a witness but declined to specify who would represent the company at the hearing.

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.

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Top Rated Comments

Westside guy Avatar
42 months ago

What a complete and utter waste of time.
I disagree - this is the government actually doing its job.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
theotherphil Avatar
42 months ago

I’m positively sure that’s absolutely not taken into account... they say it’s “for the consumer” but how many lay people are being interviewed, heard or polled for this? None.
The Epic thing, the privacy thing, the AppStore thing... they should really ask the developers and final users what they think, what they hope to achieve and what could work better. Maybe most devs are fine with the 15/30% and just minor tweaks here and there are just what’s needed and maybe most users are fine by having a single centralized store on iOS.
With regards to "users being interviewed", there's already a lot of data out there. The interesting thing is that what we currently have is a free market where users are free to make a purchasing decision. Governments are usually reluctant to interfere in a free market.

Do users have a choice of an open system? Yes, they have android/ linux smartphones. Lots of good hardware choices and from numerous manufacturers. These manufacturers often offer handsets free on a plan and there's numerous devices that cost very little.

Do users have a choice of a closed ecosystem? Yes, they can choose Apple. But, they're way more expensive for equivalent hardware specs, are rarely discounted and are never offered for free. The software is more locked down to prioritise consistency, security and ease of use.

Apple's primary business model and what differentiates them FROM THEIR COMPETITION is the closed ecosystem.

So, if the closed ecosystem is allegedly harming consumers, and the hardware/ ecosystem is so much more expensive, why do so many people choose to purchase the iPhone? The free market has spoken, there are users out there who would rather pay a lot more for the iPhone because it offers a consistent user experience, ease of use and security. Not only that, it has scored the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the business every single year since the iPhone was released.

If the Apple ecosystem really was harming consumers, the free market would see that nobody would purchase their products. If the claim is "Apple users can't move because they are locked-in and it's too hard to swap", explain how they still get the highest user satisfaction scores year after year? If these users were dissatisfied and wanted to move but were locked in, how come the user satisfaction surveys don't show that? If the "Open Platform" really was the better option, the free market would choose that, especially if you can get better hardware for a better price. The closed platform HAS TO BE OFFERING ADDED VALUE for consumers to WILLINGLY PAY MORE.

Then the claim that the Apple App Store/ Google Play store is unfairly keeping prices high, which harms consumers. Explain to me why Epic first released Fortnight as Sideload only on Android? They then changed to distribution via the Play store. Users had the choice to install directly by side loading and avoiding any google policies but the majority of users want to install from an App Store so Epic had to release on the Play store. Epic also have their own Epic Games Store on Android, yet users choose to use the play store.

So, when consumers are given the choice of an open platform, a great many choose to pay more for a closed platform. The users that choose an open platform have had the choice of side loading, using the google play store or using the Epic Game store. Despite this, users overwhelmingly prefer to use the Play Store.

I'm not sure how it can possibly be claimed that Apple's/ Google's business model is harming consumers (one of the things needed to be proven in an antitrust case).

Developers are in a contractual business agreement with Apple/ Google and are not classed as "consumers".
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
42 months ago

More than half of internet traffic comes through mobile phones, whose users rely on mobile applications to access online content and services
So what are people doing with their smartphones that half the internet traffic comes through the smartphones.
- netflix and other streaming services, including apple music and sirius xm?
- navigation?
- email?

Email is my biggest use case, but by for without a large monitor, keyboard and mouse, answering emails on a mobile phone is gimped. I use the gmail app, but it really wouldn't matter if I use the gmail or not, given I can access gmail, through the browser.


...device warrant a "full and fair examination...
Examine away, but government doesn't always know what's better. Why don't you fix the data privacy issue first before worrying about successful platforms built from scratch?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
42 months ago
I disagree - this is the government actually doing its job.
If my memory of past headings is any indicator, this will be anything but.

Why would anyone in their right mind ever testify in a congressional hearing where the senators are all talking over you, ignoring everything you actually say and then repeatedly telling you that you said something totally opposite of reality.

It’s a total waste of everyone’s time, and nothing more than an opportunity for the government officials to grandstand before an audience and look like they are actually doing work.

Tim Cook’s time would be better spent playing candy crush than showing up.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DocMultimedia Avatar
42 months ago

I thought that the senate subpoenas whoever they want to appear. Didn't know that the companies could cherry pick whomever they wanted to testify.
They can do that (by going through the proper methods https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44247.pdf ), but in this case the gov is trying to be a bit friendlier by just asking various companies to send someone. Always gets a bit worse when it's an actual subpoena.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Realityck Avatar
42 months ago
Sounds well suited to represent Apple before the Senate

Kyle Andeer is Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President of Corporate Law. Mr Andeer has built and managed Apple’s global Competition Law & Policy group over the last decade.

Mr Andeer joined Apple in 2010 after a ten year career in federal antitrust enforcement working at both the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission. While he was at the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Andeer also served as Commissioner Thomas Rosch’s attorney advisor on antitrust issues.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)