Apple Has ‘Monopoly Power’ Over iPhone & iPad Apps, Says House Report



The United States House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust released a report stating that Apple has ‘monopoly power’ over apps available for installation on iPhone and iPad devices. Apple has total control of its App Store, with the ability to allow or deny apps from appearing within the listings. This has led to scrutiny by government officials and possible regulation or intervention.

Top executives from Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook were called to give testimony to Congress in July, each facing accusations of anti-competitive practices. Apple was grilled primarily over its exclusive control of iPhone and iPad app distribution and the 30-percent commission it collects. However, privacy and and data collection was also reviewed. It appeared at the time that Apple answered questions well, with much of the focus centered on Amazon.

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The recent findings from the U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust mentioned a word that corporations never want to be associated with, particularly by government officials. The report stated that Apple exerts ‘monopoly power’ over the App Store. Apple installs several apps on every new iPhone and iPad. Other apps can be installed, but only through the App Store. The report also describes ‘barriers to competition’ and ‘misappropriation’ of competitive sensitive information. While no action has been taken, this has to be a troubling report for Apple.

Of course, the 30-percent cut that Apple takes from developers was one of the issues raised, with the report finding it to be higher than normal and the company’s huge profits were mentioned as supporting this claim. The cost of running the App Store was used for comparison, as well. This has been in the news for months due to Apple’s battles with Epic Games. The Judiciary subcommittee also noted that Apple loyalty was problematic, calling it ‘ecosystem lock-in.’ Since it means Apple customers seldom switched platforms, this makes Apple’s control more absolute. The existence of Android may not exempt Apple from its controlling behaviors on the App Store, as some thought.

Apple was also accused of absorbing smaller companies in order to create supporting apps and services, which would give it even more app and subscription services market share. Texture Digital Magazines and Beats Headphones were mentioned as examples. A lot of the text reads like trouble brewing for Apple, as well as other leading tech industry companies, considering Facebook, Google and Amazon were all reviewed in the same House Judiciary subcommittee report. No legal action is to be taken immediately, but the report recommended new rules for competition be developed by Congress to address the new challenges presented by digital marketplaces. The entire world has lagged behind the rapid pace of technology and some attention is overdue, whether it’s Apple or otherwise.

Next: Apple Sues Recycling Firm For Selling iPhone, iPad, & Apple Watch Devices

Source: U.S. House

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