Tech News: Apple turns down request to testify for Senate app store hearing.
Leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding that Apple provide a witness for an upcoming hearing on app stores and digital competition after the iPhone maker refused to cooperate, according to a new letter to the company released Friday.
In the letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Mike Lee (R-UT) that the company “abruptly” decided not to provide a witness for an April hearing on digital markets that focuses on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.
“Apple has been aware for weeks that the Subcommittee was planning a hearing on this topic and was engaged in discussions with our staff regarding who would testify on Apple’s behalf, ”the senators wrote to Apple Friday. “Yet a little more than two weeks [16 days] before the planned hearing, Apple abruptly declared that it would not provide any witness to testify at a hearing in April. “
Apple’s App Store practices have come under intense scrutiny from lawmakers over the past year. In 2019, the House Judiciary Committee launched an investigation into competition in the tech industry, including Apple’s App Store. During the investigation, lawmakers focused on the 30 percent fee Apple charges app developers.
The criticism extends to the app developers themselves. Fortnite publisher Epic Games sued Apple last year, alleging the company violated US antitrust laws after it removed the popular battle royale game from the App Store. The lawsuit begins on May 3.
“Apple’s sudden change in course to refuse to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee on app store competition issues in April, when the company is clearly willing to discuss them in other public forums, is unacceptable, ”the senators wrote. “We strongly urge Apple to reconsider its position and to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee in a timely manner. “