Apple has until Sunday to answer House Judiciary Committee

Antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline (D, RI) wants Tim Cook in the hot seat.

From AppleInsider’s “US House committee pushes Apple CEO Tim Cook to testify in big tech probe“:

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee this week sent letters to Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook asking whether their CEOs plan to participate in a series of antitrust hearings slated for July.

With the correspondence, antitrust investigators are pressing executives to testify on their own accord as part of a probe into the business dealings of Silicon Valley tech giants, Axios reports.

The letters raise the specter of potential subpoenas for testimony and document production in cases of noncompliance, the report said. Lawmakers have for months urged executives to testify on behalf of their respective companies as part of a review process that could inform changes to U.S. antitrust law…

Augmenting the government review is testimony from third-party companies that allege subjugation by big tech entities. Tile, for example, spoke out against Apple’s widely rumored “AirTags” object tracking solution last September.

Tile claims Apple took action against the smaller firm by stopping sale of its products in Apple Stores and crippling location tracking functionality in iOS. Apple also poached a Tile engineer as “AirTags” rumors mounted, suggesting the iPhone maker is readying a competing device.

Other firms, like Luna Display, argue Apple Sherlocked, or adopted, features and software capabilities introduced by third-party developers for integration in iOS and other first-party operating systems.

Music streaming powerhouse Spotify, a regular critic of Apple’s App Store policies, was also asked for input on the tech giant’s business structure. Spotify founder Daniel Ek previously said Apple “gives themselves unfair advantages at every turn,” noting App Store regulations like purchase and subscription fees.

My take: I’ m not a great Cicilline fan, but I’d like to hear Cook’s answers to those complaints.

10 Comments

  1. Steven Philips said:
    The problem being that with the current political AND media environment ANY answer – no matter how rational – gets spun to the negative. The old damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Politicians posturing, not “inquiring”. Same as happened with books!

    3
    June 13, 2020
  2. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Apple creates some of the best (with prices commensurate with that best) consumer tech products available amongst their competition with millions/billions of sales worldwide.

    If they can be rightly accused of being “dominant” or “controlling”, it’s uniquely because they have EARNED it exhibited by the desire of their customers to buy their “pricey” products via the will or the want — not necessarily the need.

    Any item Apple offers can be substituted with others on the market, yet the experience of their total ecosystem can’t.

    Sorry. Boo hoo.

    Anti-trust seems to rear it’s head mostly in only two instances. One — when you’ve been able to be the cheapest (dare I say it…“free”) on the block, effectively pushing out competition, or two — you have little to no competition to begin with.

    TILE — little competition.

    SPOTIFY — you “earned” where you are because of “cheap/free”.

    FACEBOOK — you “earned” where you are because of “cheap/free”.

    AMAZON — you “earned” where you are because of “cheap/free”.

    GOOGLE — you “earned” where you are because of “cheap/free”.

    MICROSOFT — you “earned” where you are because of “cheap” AND little competition.

    Hell, the original “MA BELL” — little competition.

    Apple don’t play that cheap/free game AND they have plenty of competition. Any suspected dominance is a feature, not a bug.

    4
    June 13, 2020
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    Excellent comments Kirk D & Steven P.

    Tile alleges Apple revised its iOS to make it more difficult for Tile’s products to work properly & that Apple removed Tile’s products from Apple stores. Apple now has its own hardware tracker system called AirTags. Apple debunked Tile’s allegations saying the revisions to its iOS were to protect user privacy, an area Apple is known infamously (FBI) for doing to protect iPhone users.

    Spotify wants to soar on Apple’s platform of 1.5B installed base without being charged for its privileged access. Apple has noted that 84% of apps in its App Store pay nothing to Apple. Apple, though, is considered vulnerable to legislative scrutiny because Apple is the mammoth Gorilla becoming ever humongous in new categories of subscriptions while serving as the umpire for incumbents in those subscription categories on Apple’s platform. That’s the juxtaposition Apple finds itself.

    Spotify is a no brainer for me. Tile, more nebulous.

    2
    June 13, 2020
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    Tim C infers businesses are made of peoples, and consequently businesses should reflect principles of “fair & equitable” treatment in all aspects of their operations & dealings with others. On Tile, I place myself as a juror listening to both sides of the argument. If Apple produces organizational documents proving that it conceptualized & commenced preliminary research on its “AirTags” before Tile applied for use of Apple’s platform & stores for product distribution, then I stand behind Apple. If Apple cannot produce such documentation, then I am left with the belief that Apple saw a wonderful business opportunity in Tile’s business model. Thus, the second step as a juror is my listening to both sides argue a deep dive into Apple’s subsequent revisions of its iOS that negated Tile’s ability to remain a viable option on Apple’s platform without sacrificing consumer privacy.

    0
    June 13, 2020
  5. Fred Stein said:
    The problem goes back to when we agreed to let TV into congress. Transparency is good. But the TV caters to sensationalism, short term drama, baseless accusation, etc.

    1
    June 13, 2020
  6. Fred Stein said:
    Apple only sin is offering the best products and services. No one can match them, can compete.

    Before the shut down, I bought 2 round trips plane tickets AND flight insurance. Now the 3rd party insurer, AIG, says I have to prove the airline did not give me a refund. No way to appeal.

    There are tons of bad corporate players out there. Congress go after them first.

    2
    June 13, 2020
  7. David Emery said:
    So, what was Apple’s response to the committee??

    0
    June 15, 2020

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