Good morning dear readers of Tecnogalaxy, today we will talk about Apple and Google cha are blocking the companies of competition.

Apple and Google are “holding data hostage” from small apps and forcing competitors to pay high fees, stifling their ability to compete, a number of companies said in a hearing before the U.S. Senate.

The hearing before the Senate antitrust committee offered a rare opportunity for smaller competitors (including Spotify, Tile and Match) to air their grievances against the tech giants before lawmakers.

Representatives from the companies spoke about their experiences within Google and Apple’s app stores, where they say they are subject to high fees and copycat behavior.

The hearing came just a day after Apple introduced AirTags, a device that users can attach to items and track using an iPhone’s “Find My” software. AirTags was largely seen as a direct copy of Samsung’s SmartTag and Tile Bluetooth trackers , which were founded 10 years ago.

What was said during the hearing

Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic senator and chair of the antitrust subcommittee, said Apple and Google have used their power to “exclude or suppress apps that compete with their own products” and “charge excessive fees that affect competition.”

“The only way apps can reach consumers is through one of these two platforms, owned by only two companies,” he said. “The best thing to do here would be to admit that we have a huge monopoly problem across the board and introduce stricter rules and standards to address it.”

The lawmaker, who introduced sweeping new antitrust legislation, has also repeatedly noted that Apple does not allow companies in its app stores to tell consumers where to shop outside the app.

The AirTag issue

Apple said its AirTags are an outgrowth of its “FindMy” app, which is used to locate lost Apple devices and share users’ locations and was introduced in 2010, before Tile was founded. Last month, Apple opened its operating system to alternative item trackers and said Chipolo, a startup competing with Tile and AirTags, is using the system.

Tile’s legal counsel, Kirsten Daru, testified that Apple’s FindMy program is installed by default on Apple phones and cannot be removed.

“Apple has once again leveraged its market power and dominance to condition our customers’ access to data in a way that effectively disrupts our user experience and directs our users to FindMy,” she said.

Apple’s strict rules

Representatives from other companies, including Spotify and Match, owner of the Tinder app, have complained that the requirement to share up to 30% of in-app revenue and the strict inclusion rules set by Apple and Google constitute anti-competitive behavior.

Apple says the revenue sharing requirements it imposes are for security purposes and has made similar arguments about why non-app store apps are banned from iPhones.

But at the request of Senator Josh Hawley, Apple’s chief compliance officer, Kyle Andeer, would not commit to spending all of the mandatory fees on security.

Apple’s arguments were “frankly offensive,” said Evan Greer, director of digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, adding that consumers should be able to install whatever software they want on their devices.

“Apple’s stranglehold on what software can run on iPhones creates a choke point that governments have used to suppress political dissent, target marginalized people like LGBTQ+ people, and worse,” Greer said. “App store monopolies aren’t just about competition, they’re about human rights.”

That’s all, see you in a future article.

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