Congressional lawmakers finally got a chance to grill Apple CEO, Tim Cook. The major issue, which the hearing revolves around is, that the company is too powerful, exploits the knowledge at their hand and operates anti-competitive strategies.
In the opening statement, Tim Cook gave respects to Late John Lewis, the American politician, and civil-rights leader. He states that he started with Apple in 2011, and talks about how proud he is to be a part of the company. Cook says, in Apple, we promise ourselves and our customers, to provide them with innovative products that they can recommend to friends and family. He further adds that customers have a lot of other options to choose from, like Samsung, LG, Huawei, Google, and other successful businesses with different models, but that doesn’t bother us at all. If you observe the market share of Apple in any market or any product category is significantly less because, at Apple, we thrive to be best not the most.
In 2008, Apple launched the App Store, which carries 500 Apps, that provides consumers with a safe, reliable, and trusted platform. For the vast majority of Apps, developers keep 100 per cent of the money they make. However, we charge developers whose features can be experienced & consumed on Apple devices. In the app store’s 10 year history we have never raised any commission and never added a single fee above the agreed amount. Instead, Apple has reduced the subscriptions and exempted additional categories of apps.
According to Cook, Apple has expanded from 500 apps to 1.7 million apps and wants to get on board as many apps as they can. He further talks about the contribution the company has made to America in terms of employment across all 50 states.
Representative asked if the rules governing the app store review process are not made available to the developers, some claims say rules are made when they go through the review process and are subject to change as Apple sees fit. The developers have no choice but to along with the changes or they must leave the app store. The rules are changed to benefit Apple at the expense of app developers. It also discriminates between developers with similar apps.
So the question arises is, does Apple not treat all developers equally? To which Cook replied that we treat every developer equally, and have transparent rules.
Cook was directly asked that if it has offered exceptions to the standard 30% commission to any developers such as Amazon Prime. To which Cook replied, its available for developers meeting certain conditions.
When asked if Apple uses the data collected by the Apple payment system to optimize your app development decisions and who is to say that Apple won’t increase the commission from 30 per cent to 50 per cent. To which Cook replied as there is competition for customers there is also competition for developers so if we increase the commission, it will only hurt our business.
Mcbeth asked as soon as Apple launched the Screen Time app which provides parents with controls on the time usage of the smartphone, you shut down competing apps on your play store.
To which Cooks’s reply was, we were worried about the children’s safety. The rep. then talked about how it is not the first time this happened.