U.S. House Committee Asks Apple to Send Info About App Store Policies

As part of a bipartisan investigation of competition in digital markets, the U.S. Judiciary today sent a letter to CEO Tim Cook requesting that the company provide any documents and executive communications related to its various policies for the Store, product repairs, and more.

The investigation seeks any internal documents or communication involving Apple executives, such as emails, for the following topics:

  • Apple’s decision to remove from the App Store or to impose any restrictions on certain parental control apps, including Freedom, Kidslox, Mobicip, OurPact, and Qustodio
  • Apple’s App Store algorithm for determining rankings in search results
  • Apple’s policy related to the App Store’s in-app purchase mechanism and its revenue split
  • Apple’s policy regarding whether apps are permitted to include in-app links to non-Apple payment systems
  • Apple’s policy regarding whether users can set non-Apple apps as default, such as web browsers and music, maps, and email apps
  • Apple’s policy regarding whether to allow any third-party app beyond the App Store on the iPhone
  • Apple’s decision to “sherlock” any functionality from third-party apps, including any discussions about Clue, Duet Display, and SwiftKey
  • Apple’s policy regarding whether third-party web browsers must use a specific rendering engine, such as WebKit
  • Apple’s restrictions on third-party repairs
  • Apple’s decision to offer discounted iPhone battery replacements throughout 2018, or the actual or projected effects of this decision, including any effect on iPhone sales
  • Apple’s decision to introduce the Independent Repair Provider Program
  • Apple’s agreement to sell products on Amazon and corresponding move to limit unauthorized resellers on Amazon

The Committee has requested that Apple respond no later than October 14, 2019 and also sent similar letters to Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

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