Apple and Google testified in front of the Senate Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee Wednesday, and it’s fair to say the committee members came with their A game and that Apple walked away the biggest loser.
At issue are the strict rules Apple imposes on app developers for the privilege of being listed in the App Store, which is virtually the only way developers can access the huge worldwide market of iPhone users. Google may be somewhat less in the antitrust crosshairs because it allows Android users to side-load apps from other marketplaces and websites.
But both Apple and Google require many developers to use their respective marketplaces’ own proprietary payment systems to sell their apps, and they charge the developers up to 30% to do so. Both Democrats and Republicans in the hearing seemed surprised at that high toll and wondered out loud whether it would be so high if the two main app stores faced more competition.
The subcommittee members had clearly coordinated their…