According to a letter from Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Mike Lee to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company is refusing to participate in an upcoming Senate hearing on anti-competitive practises at online app stores.
As per the senators, Apple approached the panel to consider sending a witness but “abruptly” changed its mind 16 days before the scheduled hearing, citing pending litigation.
In the letter, the Cupertino, California-based corporation has refused to send a witness to a Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust panel hearing on charges of anticompetitive treatment of outside app developers.
The bulk of smartphone applications are downloaded from Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google sites, according to Klobuchar and Lee, the panel’s chair and ranking Republican. According to a source familiar with the situation, Google has agreed to provide a witness for the hearing but hasn’t said who it will be.
“Apple’s control over the cost, delivery, and availability of mobile apps on Apple devices used by millions of consumers poses significant competition concerns that are of concern to the subcommittee, consumers, and app developers,” according to the letter. “Apple’s involvement is needed for a thorough and fair review of these issues before the subcommittee.”
Apple had approached the panel to consider sending a witness but “abruptly” changed its mind 16 days before the scheduled hearing, citing pending litigation. Epic Games Inc. and Apple are set to go to trial in May after Epic filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple last year over the 30% reduction Apple takes from platform revenues. Apple responded by suing Epic, arguing that it had violated its App Store developer agreement. Epic also filed a lawsuit against Google over the same topic.
The letter referred to an interview Cook gave for a New York Times podcast in which he spoke about Epic Games’ legal issues.
According to Bloomberg, the Justice Department’s antitrust division is looking at Apple’s App Store practises to see if the firm is hurting competition.