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House antitrust chair says Apple's 30% cut is 'highway robbery'

App Store
App Store (Image credit: 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."

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.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

1 Comment
  • But when the government extracts 30% or more in taxes, that's OK? At least Apple is offering something of value to both developers and end users.