App developers told US Congress that they’re all “afraid” of Apple and Google.
Apple and Google faced a battery of accusations on Wednesday, April 21, from prominent app developers, including Spotify and Tile, who alleged that the large tech platforms have abused their dominance and harmed competition, a new report from CNBC explains.
“We’re all afraid,” Match Group Chief Legal Officer Jared Sine told Senator Amy Klobuchar, the chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, at a hearing.
In the Senate hearing, the app makers — including Match Group, owner of dating site Tinder; Tile, which makes devices that help users find lost objects and faces new competition from Apple’s AirTag technology, and streaming music service Spotify — said Apple and Google’s rules surrounding in-app payments and app updates allow the tech giants to suppress competitors, and that they engage in retaliation when app developers don’t comply.
The hearing highlighted how antitrust scrutiny of Apple is ramping up after more than a year of similar focus on companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The lawmakers were clear that the hearing would serve as a springboard for legislation to rein in large tech platforms.
Much of the hearing focused on Apple’s treatment of app makers, largely because of Apple’s closed ecosystem that prohibits the installation of iOS apps from anywhere but the Apple app store.
Klobuchar said that Apple’s App Store was a “literal monopoly,” saying that both stores “exclude or suppress apps that compete with their own products” and “charge excessive fees that affect competition in the app store economy.”
Apple is currently in the middle of a high-profile legal battle with Fortnite-developer Epic Games, whose applications were removed from the App Store after it created an in-app purchase system designed to circumvent Apple’s commission requirements. A court hearing on the matter is due to start next week.