Apple to send exec to App Store Senate hearing after initially declining

Apple claims it was simply seeking alternative dates when it initially declined

The senate floor during a vote

Apple will now send an executive to an upcoming Senate hearing after it earlier declined to attend.

According to Bloomberg, the company will make Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) Kyle Andeer available to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights later this month. Andeer has testified before the House of Representatives several times.

Senators sent a letter to Apple Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook on Friday confirming Apple had previously declined to participate in the hearings.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) added in the letter that Apple’s “sudden change in course to refuse to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee on app store competition issues in April, when the company is clearly willing to discuss them in other public forums, is unacceptable.”

“We strongly urge Apple to reconsider its position and to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee in a timely manner,” the letter read.

In a statement, Senators Klobuchar and Lee urged Tim Cook to reverse his position.

“This hearing will explore whether Apple and Google are using their power as gatekeepers to charge high fees and impose restrictions that suppress competition in mobile applications and related markets, and both companies‘ participation in the hearing is necessary,” the statement read.

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Apple responded on Sunday, saying it was “surprised” to receive the letter and was simply looking for alternative dates to attend.

“We have deep respect for your role and process on these matters and, as we told your staff, we are willing to participate in a hearing in the subcommittee,” Apple said in its response. “We simply sought alternative dates in light of upcoming matters that have been scheduled for some time and that touch on similar issues.”

The Senate Subcommittee is investigating competition issues and has Apple and Google in its sights over app developers’ concerns.

In the letter to Cook, senators said Apple’s power over the cost, distribution, and availability of mobile applications on millions of consumers’ Apple devices “raises serious competition issues that are of interest to the subcommittee, consumers, and app developers.”

“A full and fair examination of these issues before the subcommittee requires Apple’s participation,” the letter added.

A separate Justice Department investigation into Apple’s App Store practices is ongoing and trying to determine if the company is harming competition.

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