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Apple refused to offer a witness in a “timely manner” to testify at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights to look into the competition issues that app stores bring to the surface, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wrote in a Friday (April 9) letter.
“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,” the senators wrote in the letter.
Klobuchar and Lee wrote that over 50 percent of web traffic originates from mobile phones. Users of those technologies depend upon mobile applications to access digital content and services, they wrote.
The lawmakers wrote that Apple was engaged in talks with their staff over who would testify for Apple. But they claim that Apple “abruptly declared” that it would not offer a witness to testify at an April hearing less than two weeks before it.
Klobuchar and Lee said in the letter that Apple’s staff cited continuing litigation as the reason behind not offering a witness for April.
The legislators asked Apple to “reconsider its position and to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee in a timely manner.”
Klobuchar’s and Lee’s letter comes on the heels of Apple and Epic Games outlining their arguments in a dispute over Apple’s control of the App Store ahead of an antitrust trial set to start next month through separate legal filings.
Apple will contend, among other arguments, that its 30 percent cut essentially matches that of digital stores like Google Play or shops for video game hardware, while its fee has dropped over time.
Epic Games, on the other hand, will argue that Apple manages the one avenue to install software on the iPhone via the App Store.
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