Big Tech is going on trial today as the United States Congress is set to grill the CEOs of the biggest technology companies Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google over antitrust concerns. The House Judiciary’s Antitrust subcommittee has over a million documents to support its case that these Silicon Valley giants stifle competition. Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook yesterday released his opening statement ahead of the historic hearing, here’s the full text.
In Apple’s case, the hearing will focus on the App Store and broader app ecosystem, with Cook’s opening remarks stating that Apple “does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business,” adding “that is not just true for the iPhone; it is true for any product category”.
“I am here today because scrutiny is responsible and appropriate,” reads Cook’s planned opening statement. “We approach this process with respect and humility. But we make no concession on the facts.”
He also wrote this:
For the vast majority of apps on the App Store, developers keep hundred percent of the money they make. The only apps that are subject to a commission are those where the developer acquires a customer on an Apple device and where the features or services would be experienced and consumed on an Apple device.
The only apps that are subject to a commission are those where the developer acquires a customer on an Apple device and where the features or services would be experienced and consumed on an Apple device. Apple’s commissions are comparable to or lower than commissions charged by the majority of our competitors. And they are vastly lower than the 50 to 70 percent that software developers paid to distribute their work before we launched the App Store.
App Store developers set prices for their apps and never pay for ‘shelf space.’ Apple continuously improves, and provides every developer with cutting-edge tools like compilers, programming languages, operating systems, frameworks, and more than 150,000 essential software building blocks called APIs. These are not only powerful, but so simple to use that students in elementary schools can and do make apps.
The App Store guidelines ensure a high-quality, reliable, and secure user experience. They are transparent and applied equally to developers of all sizes and in all categories. They are not set in stone. Rather, they have changed as the world has changed, and we work with developers to apply them fairly.
Cook will appear alongside Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai. The hearing starts at 12:00pm ET and a live stream will be provided.