Microsoft President Met With U.S. Antitrust Committee Investigating Apple and Expressed Concerns Over App Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Alphabet/Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are all set to participate in an antitrust hearing next Monday held by the United States House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee as part of an ongoing antitrust investigation on competition in digital markets.

Ahead of the hearing, the committee spoke with Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, with The Information sharing details on the virtual meeting.

The committee wanted to talk with Smith so he could “provide Microsoft’s perspective as a big tech company” formerly involved in antitrust regulation over Windows, but Smith also reportedly shared Microsoft’s concerns with the way Apple operates the App Store.

Topics covered included Apple’s arbitrary ‌App Store‌ approval processes, the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from app purchases and subscriptions, and requirements that developers use Apple’s in-app purchase system.

At a Politico event in June, Smith expressed similar sentiments and said that it’s time for regulators to take a look at app stores and the payment requirements.

“They impose requirements that increasingly say there is only one way to get on to our platform and that is to go through the gate that we ourselves have created. In some cases they create a very high price per toll – in some cases 30% of your revenue has to go to the toll keeper.”

“The time has come – whether we are talking about D.C. or Brussels – for a much more focused conversation about the nature of app stores, the rules that are being put in place, the prices and the tolls that are being extracted and whether there is really a justification in antitrust law for everything that has been created.”

Microsoft distributes multiple apps in Apple’s ‌App Store‌, and is required to pay Apple 15 to 30 percent for any customers who subscribe to its Office 365 service through Apple’s platform.

‌Tim Cook‌ and other tech CEOS will testify in the antitrust hearing on Monday, July 27 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and a livestream will be available on YouTube.

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