Apple CEO Tim Cook will tell a House Subcommittee on Antitrust that if Apple is a gatekeeper to the App Store, then it has opened the gate wider to developers.
The CEOs of America’s largest tech companies are set to testify before Congress today in what will be one of the biggest head-to-head confrontations between Silicon Valley and Washington.
Cook’s full opening statement can be read in advance of the hearing, where he will testify remotely alongside the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Amazon on competition in the tech industry.
The Apple CEO will say his company is uniquely American and has created a platform for developers without stifling competition. He’ll state that the App Store is currently home to 1.7 million apps, although only 60 of them are Apple software.
“Clearly, if Apple is a gatekeeper, what we have done is open the gate wider,” Cook will say. “We want to get every app we can on the store, not keep them off.” He will discuss the commissions Apple makes from the App Store and will add that the company needs to make this money to continue delivering a top-shelf product.
“In the more than a decade since the App Store debuted, we have never raised the commission or added a single fee,” Cook will say. “In fact, we have reduced them for subscriptions and exempted additional categories of apps. The App Store evolves with the times, and every change we have made has been in the direction of providing a better experience for our users and a compelling business opportunity for developers.”
Cook will also say Apple “does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business”, including the iPhone and the App Store as a digital platform.
“The smartphone market is fiercely competitive, and companies like Samsung, LG, Huawei and Google have built very successful smartphone businesses offering different approaches.”
Cook argues that the App store began with 500 apps but now hosts more than 1.7 million products, of which only 60 are Apple software.
The statement goes on to reference the App Store’s high-quality user experience, the store’s transparency, and the fact that guidelines are applied equally to all developers of all sizes and categories. It further mentions how the vast majority of developers pay no money to Apple through the App Store.
Whilst the statement says “scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate”, it notes that Apple makes “no concession on the facts.”
Cook will answer questions from the committee alongside Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jeff Bezos. The hearing will be live-streamed at 12pm Eastern Time.