Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

U.S. senators question Apple and Google on app store dominance

Stock MarketsApr 21, 2021 20:00
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Apple unveils AirTag in Cupertino

By Diane Bartz, Stephen Nellis and Paresh Dave

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A panel of U.S. senators questioned officials from Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc's Google on Wednesday about the dominance of their mobile app stores and whether the companies abuse their power at the expense of smaller competitors.

Amy Klobuchar, the top Senate Democrat on antitrust issues, said Apple and Google can use their power to "exclude or suppress apps that compete with their own products" and "charge excessive fees that affect competition."

App makers like music streaming service Spotify Technology SA and dating services giant Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH), which owns the Tinder app, have long complained that mandatory revenue sharing for sales of digital goods and strict inclusion rules set by Apple's App Store for iPhones and iPads, along with Google's Play store for Android devices, amount to anticompetitive behavior.

Representatives for Apple and Google told senators the companies' tight control over their stores and the associated revenue-sharing requirements are needed to enforce and pay for security measures to protect consumers from harmful apps and practices.

But when asked by Senator Josh Hawley, Apple's Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer would not commit to spending all of the mandatory fees on security.

Explanations from Andeer and Google's Wilson White, senior director for government affairs, about why the companies' fees do not apply to Uber Technologies Inc and apps that sell physical goods also failed to satisfy senators.

"I feel like unfrozen caveman lawyer," Senator Mike Lee said. "I'm not grasping it."

Senator Richard Blumenthal expressed concern about a call Match said it received late on Tuesday from its business counterpart at Google.

Match's Chief Legal Officer Jared Sine said Google wanted to know why Sine's planned testimony, which had just been released, deviated from previous comments the dating company had made.

"It looks like a threat, it talks like a threat, it's a threat," Blumenthal said of the call, vowing to investigate Google's action further.

Google's White said the call reflected an effort to ask an honest question and the company would never threaten partners.

In his testimony, Match's Sine argued that Google and Apple both exact an onerous 30% of any digital transaction, raising prices for consumers.

Match pays nearly $500 million in fees to the app stores annually, the company's single largest expense, Sine said.

Spotify and Match said Apple's app review process was opaque. Sine said Apple blocked a safety update to the Tinder app meant to warn LGBTQ+ users if they were traveling to a country where it might be dangerous to expose their identity because Apple said the update violated the "spirit" of a new rule.

But Apple would not explain how to fix the issue, Sine said. He said that Apple approved the update two months later only after senior leaders at Match's parent company at the time, IAC/Interactivecorp, raised the issue with Apple's senior leaders.

The hearing came a day after Apple said it would begin selling AirTags - which can be attached to items like car keys to help users find them when they are lost - in direct competition with Tile, which has sold a similar tracking device for more than a decade.

Apple said its AirTags were an outgrowth of its "FindMy" app, which is used for locating lost Apple devices and to share user locations and was introduced in 2010, before Tile's founding. Apple last month opened its operating system up to alternative item trackers and said that Chipolo, a startup competing with Tile and AirTags, is using the system.

Tile General Counsel Kirsten Daru testified Apple's FindMy program is installed by default on Apple phones and cannot be deleted.

"Apple has once again exploited its market power and dominance to condition our customers’ access to data on effectively breaking our user experience and directing our users to FindMy," she said.

U.S. senators question Apple and Google on app store dominance
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email