The U.S. Senate Justice Committee is investigating whether Apple is violating any competition laws, and has received testimonies from several companies in the Coalition for App Fairness organization: Spotify, Match and Tile.
The company has now submitted a response to the committee, signed by Apple CEO Kyle Andeer. Apple believes that the companies ‘allegations are about business disputes and not competition offenses, and has specific savings on all three companies’ claims.
Spotify has complained about two things: that Apple does not allow alternative payment solutions for the buy-in-app and that Apple only charges a fee for digital goods and not physical ones. Apple’s response to the first is that the App Store fee of 30 percent is in line with what other app stores took before the App Store was launched and what it has continued to look like.
Apple also points out that Spotify did not lower the price of subscriptions when Apple reduced fees from 30 to 15 percent for customers who have had the subscription for over a year, and that less than one percent of Spotify’s subscribers pay via the App Store.
As for the second complaint, Apple writes that digital goods are experienced on the iPhone and relies on the many technologies and features Apple has built into the phone. It is different from a taxi ride or coffee that is mainly enjoyed outside the phone.
The answer to Match is similar, but also includes a passage that Match lied when it claimed that Apple refused to release an update of Tinder due to a new security feature for LGBTQ users. In fact, it was an unclear pricing structure that would have violated FTC rules, Apple writes.
To Tile’s criticism, Apple responds with a scathing diss:
– Tile’s witness stated that Apple “knows our price, our margins, how well our products sell in stores, who our customers are, how much we charge for subscriptions and what features people use”. Several years ago, Apple had some information about how Tile sold in Apple stores. It did not sell well.