Apple’s ‘monopoly power’ over iPhone app distribution gives it outsized profits, Democrats say


  • The House Judiciary subcommittee released a report on Tuesday that said that Apple has “monopoly power” over software distribution on iPhones.
  • It says that this power allows Apple to generate large profits from the App Store and extract rents from developers. 
  • The 450-page report from the Democratic majority staff is the culmination of a 16-month investigation that also examined competitive practices at Amazon, Facebook, and Google and included the CEOs of the four giants testifying over videoconference in August. 



Tim Cook wearing a suit and tie: Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, speaks at the 2019 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on November 19, 2019.


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Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, speaks at the 2019 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on November 19, 2019.

The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust released a report on Tuesday that said that Apple has “monopoly power” over software distribution on iPhones, which allows it to generate large profits from the App Store and extract rents from developers. 

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The 450-page report from the Democratic majority is the culmination of a 16-month investigation that also examined competitive practices at Amazon, Facebook, and Google and included the CEOs of the four giants testifying over videoconference in August. 

The report recommends that dominant technology platforms, including Apple, be barred from entering “adjacent lines of business” and should not be allowed to give preference to their own services or products. But the report is also complimentary of Apple in some places: it also noted that Apple’s mobile ecosystem has produced significant benefits to consumers and app developers. 

If these recommendations eventually become law, it could force big technology companies including Apple to change core business practices, such as how it distributes its own apps through the App Store or which products or services it decides to develop.

In an interview in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he hoped that the company could “unpeel” from antitrust investigations and that he believes Apple doesn’t have a dominant market share in smartphones. The report says that Apple has about 45% of the market for smartphones in the United States. 

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