Technology

Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee

Apple will send an executive to testify later this month at a Senate  antitrust subcommittee hearing after pushback from the top senators on the Judiciary subcommittee, the lawmakers said Monday. 

Subcommittee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and ranking member Mike Lee (R-Utah) had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday criticizing the company over its “refusal to provide a witness” to testify at the April 21 hearing on app stores and competition.

The tech giant followed up on Sunday by saying it would send a witness, the senator said. 

Google will also be sending a witness to the hearing, they said. 

“The fact that there are just two gatekeepers between consumers and the millions of online applications available for download raises serious competition concerns. These companies have the power to control how and if mobile app developers can reach app users, and ultimately, which apps become successful,” Klobuchar said in a statement. 

“I am glad that Apple has changed course and agreed to testify before the Subcommittee,” Lee said in a statement. “Utahns are eager to learn what we can do to better protect and promote competition in the digital ecosystem, and it’s essential that Apple and others make good faith contributions to that effort.”

Apple wrote to the lawmakers that it had intended to participate but had sought a change in the date, according to a copy of the letter reported by Bloomberg

“We have a deep respect for your role and process on these matters,” the letter reportedly reads. 

The company will have Kyle Andeer, the company’s chief compliance officer, testify at the hearing. 

A spokesperson for Apple did not respond to a request for comment. 

The hearing comes as Apple faces a legal challenge from Epic Games, the company behind the popular Fortnite app. Epic alleges Apple has anti-competitive policies, centering its argument over Apple’s decision to block Fortnite updates when Epic allowed players on Apple’s iOS operating system to choose between Apple payment and Epic direct payment.

Tags Amy Klobuchar antitrust Apple Apple Apple Store Google Mike Lee

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