App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • The house antitrust subcommittee chair has said Apple's App Store practices are 'highway robbery.'
  • David Cicilline was reacting to the Hey.com fiasco on 'The Vergecast.'
  • He says that Apple is "crushing" small developers.

The chair of the house antitrust subcommittee, David Cicilline, has told 'The Vergecast' he thinks that Apple's App Store practices are akin to "highway robbery."

According to The Verge:

Apple is acting like a monopolist and a bully, according to the chairman of the House antitrust subcommittee.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) joined The Vergecast along with Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson to discuss the plight of Hey, Basecamp's new $99-a-year premium email service. Earlier this week, Heinemeier Hansson revealed that Apple had rejected the Hey iPhone app from the App Store because it didn't offer any way to sign up and pay in the app itself — which would require giving Apple a 30 percent cut of the fee.

Commenting on the Hey.com fiasco, Cicilline said that Apple's market power allowed it to charged "exorbitant rents" which he described as "highway robbery, basically." He said Apple was "crushing" smaller developers who couldn't afford those payments, and that "If there were real competition in this marketplace, this wouldn't happen."

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Cicilline continued:

"Many people have come forward to share their experiences, who are terrified of economic retaliation, who are afraid they can't survive the economic retaliation that these large platforms can impose because of the power that they have, and we intend to pursue those allegations very seriously. This is a real problem in the marketplace. This is a direct consequence of enormous market power, the fact that Apple is the gatekeeper for these developers, and we have heard many, many examples."

Apple singled out Hey.com for breaking its App Store rules because it requires a subscription that can't be bought through In-app-purchases in order to function, depriving Apple of its 30% cut of the revenue generated. Apple's Phil Schiller doubled down on the company's decision yesterday.

You can listen to 'The Vergecast' featuring Cicilline and Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson here.