Microsoft told antitrust committee that Apple's App Store is anticompetitive

President Brad Smith called out Apple's fees and arbitrary approval policy.

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Microsoft president Brad Smith takes part in a roundtable discussion with US President Donald Trump and industry executives on reopening the country, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 29, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

A US House antitrust committee is getting set to grill tech’s biggest CEOs, but Microsoft wants them to focus on one in particular: Apple’s Tim Cook. Microsoft President Brad Smith met with the committee several weeks ago and relayed concerns about how Apple manages its App Store, according to the The Information (via Bloomberg).

Smith complained specifically about Apple’s arbitrary App Store approval policy which recently caused a ruckus over the rejection of Basecamp’s Hey email app. He also railed against Apple’s payment requirement that allows it to take as much as a 30 percent cut of developers’ revenue. That policy is currently the subject of an EU antitrust investigation launched at the behest of Spotify.

The antitrust committee originally called Smith to get Microsoft’s take on the current antitrust climate, given that the company was the subject of US investigations in the 2000s. Smith said that Apple’s App Store rules impede competition to a much higher degree than Microsoft did with Windows when it was found guilty of antitrust violations two decades ago. Smith didn’t criticize other tech companies during the interview.

Apple has largely avoided the privacy-related investigations faced by Google and Facebook, but now finds itself in the middle of antitrust probes on both sides of the Atlantic. With its old frenemy Microsoft adding to the complaints, Apple could face a lot of heat when the House Judiciary Antitrust hearings kick off next Monday on July 27th.

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