Apple agrees to send executive to testify before Senate on antitrust

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-MN) speaks in the course of the fourth day of the affirmation listening to for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 15, 2020.

Susan Walsh | Pool | Reuters

Apple has agreed to send a high executive to testify before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust after main senators pressed the corporate to make one obtainable to talk about competitors issues about its app retailer.

In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday, subcommittee chair Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and rating member Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote about Apple’s “refusal to provide a witness to testify in a timely manner.” They stated they “strongly urge Apple to reconsider its position.”

Apple responded on Sunday in a letter obtained by CNBC and first reported by Bloomberg, agreeing to send Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer to testify on April 21. Timothy Powderly, senior director of presidency affairs for the Americas, wrote that Apple was “surprised” by the letter from Klobuchar and Lee, saying it had beforehand expressed a willingness to take part however “simply sought alternative dates in light of upcoming matters that have been scheduled for some time and that touch on similar issues.”

Klobuchar and Lee wrote on Friday that Apple had beforehand cited ongoing litigation as a purpose for refusing to present a witness in April. Apple faces a lawsuit from Fortnite maker Epic Games, which has accused the corporate of violating antitrust legal guidelines by way of its stewardship of its app retailer. Epic and different builders have lengthy complained of Apple’s 15% to 30% charges on purchases clients make by way of apps on its iOS units.

The senators stated that loads of different executives within the tech sector and past have testified underneath comparable circumstances, including that Apple was conscious of the litigation when initially working with the subcommittee to present a witness. They additionally famous Apple’s selection to send witnesses to testify before state legislatures voting on bills that would regulate app stores in the way their panel plans to explore.

“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,” they wrote within the letter Friday.

Powderly informed the senators Apple understands their curiosity in holding the listening to in April and would make Andeer obtainable. Andeer has beforehand testified before House members and in state legislatures over comparable points. Powderly emphasised the app retailer’s function in serving to builders of all sizes to make apps that serve the client expertise.

“Customers benefit from our commitment to quality, security, and privacy, and we look forward to the opportunity to share our story,” he wrote.

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WATCH: Apple’s fight with Epic Games is part of a larger antitrust battle

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