Watch Tim Cook defend Apple to Congress here

With their big day before lawmakers set to happen today, previews of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple CEO Tim Cook’s opening statements to Congress are now available on the House Judiciary Committee’s site.

Taylor Hatmaker and Catherine Shu report for TechCrunch:

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook
While the opening statements are just a glimpse of the hearing’s potential topics, they do provide a useful outline for the strategy each company will use to fend off accusations that their businesses have grown on such an enormous scale due to anticompetitive behavior. In recent hearings, tech executives have mostly managed to stick to safe, well-rehearsed lines, so if any moments deviate from these scripts those will likely be the most interesting or useful bits of testimony.

MacDailyNews Note: The tech hearing with the House Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee will begin Wednesday at 12pm EDT. You can watch it right here:

The CEOs also take slightly different approaches to how they present their opening statements. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive officer, and Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet and Google, go into their personal backgrounds. Meanwhile, both Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg make an appeal to U.S. patriotism. In their respective statements, Cook calls Apple an “uniquely American company” and Zuckerberg declares Facebook a “proudly American company.”

Cook says that the “smartphone market is fiercely competitive,” with rivals like Samsung, LG, Huawei and Google, and that all of Apple’s product categories, including the iPhone, do not have a dominant market share in any of the markets where it does business… Cook’s statement also argues that Apple’s ecosystem has helped create jobs. He says that the App Store now hosting more than 1.7 million apps, only 60 of which were developed by Apple, and “more than 1.9 million American jobs in all 50 states are attributable to Apple.”

MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook’s statement to Congress — in the most non-useful format possible as a scanned image in a .pdf (“government efficiency” in action) — is here.

We’ve OCR’ed it for everyone’s convenience:

Statement of Tim Cook Apple Inc.

U.S House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law

July 29, 2020

Chairmen Cicilline and Nadler, Ranking Members Sensenbrenner and Jordan and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to offer testimony.

Before I begin, I want to recognize the life and legacy of John Lewis. I join you in mourning a hero and someone I knew personally. Getting to host Congressman Lewis at Apple was one of the great honors of my life, and his example inspires and guides me. Every American owes him a debt, and I feel fortunate to hail from a state and a country that benefitted profoundly from his leadership.

My name is Tim Cook. I have been Apple’s chief executive officer since 2011 and a proud employee since 1998.

Apple is a uniquely American company whose success is only possible in this country. Motivated by the mission to put things into the world that enrich people’s lives, and believing deeply that the way we do that is by making the best not the most, Apple has produced many revolutionary products, not least of which is the iPhone.

We do this, in part, by making ourselves and our customers a promise—a promise that we will only build things that make us proud. Apple’s founder Steve Jobs used to put it a little differently: we only make things that we would recommend to our family and friends.

Since 2007, the iPhone has been one such product. The iPhone has redefined the mobile phone through its seamless integration of hardware and software, its effortless user experience, its simplicity of design and a high-quality ecosystem.

To our customers, these are essential to why they choose Apple—and why they keep coming back. We focus ceaselessly on our users and their experience, and we see the iPhone’s 99% satisfaction rating in consumer surveys as not only a key driver of the product’s growth over time, but also our best measure today that we are still on the right track.

As much as we believe the iPhone provides the best user experience, we know it is far from the only choice available to consumers.

The smartphone market is fiercely competitive, and companies like Samsung, LG, Huawei and Google have built very successful smartphone businesses offering different approaches.

Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business. That is not just true for iPhone; it is true for any product category.

What motivates us is the continuous improvement of the user experience, and we focus relentlessly on and invest significantly in new breakthroughs, innovative features and deepening the principles that set us apart.

Privacy and security are key examples of this drive. This is true for the iPhone and for every device we make. We build products that, from the ground up, help users protect their fundamental right to the privacy of their personal data. This principle is foundational and touches everything else we do.

We created the App Store in 2008 as a feature of the iPhone. Launching with a little more than 500 apps, it was our ambitious attempt to dramatically expand the features and customizability of every user’s device. We wanted to create a safe and trusted place for users to discover apps—and a means of providing a secure and supportive way for developers to develop, test and distribute apps to iPhone users globally.

Curation has always been one of the App Store’s chief features and sources of value for our users. We held a quality department store as a model: a place where customers can find a great variety of options, but can feel confident that the selection is high-quality, reliable and current.

But we held ourselves to an even higher standard. In our pursuit of improving the user experience, we wanted to provide a venue for creators large and small to not only bring their ideas to life, but to reach many millions of users and build a successful business in the process.

When the App Store was created, the prevailing distribution options available to software developers at the time did not work well. Brick-and-mortar stores charged high fees and had limited reach. Physical media like CDs had to be shipped and were hard to update.

From the beginning, the App Store was a revolutionary alternative.

App Store developers set prices for their apps and never pay for “shelf space.”

Apple continuously improves, and provides every developer with cutting-edge tools like compilers, programming languages, operating systems, frameworks and more than 150,000 essential software building blocks called APIs. These are not only powerful, but so simple to use that students in elementary schools can and do make apps.

The App Store guidelines ensure a high-quality, reliable and secure user experience. They are transparent and applied equally to developers of all sizes and in all categories. They are not set in stone. Rather, they have changed as the world has changed, and we work with developers to apply them fairly.

For the vast majority of apps on the App Store, developers keep 100% of the money they make. The only apps that are subject to a commission are those where the developer acquires a customer on an Apple device and where the features or services would be experienced and consumed on an Apple device.

Apple’s commissions are comparable to or lower than commissions charged by the majority of our competitors. And they are vastly lower than the 50 to 70 percent that software developers paid to distribute their work before we launched the App Store.

In the more than a decade since the App Store debuted, we have never raised the commission or added a single fee. In fact, we have reduced them for subscriptions and exempted additional categories of apps. The App Store evolves with the times, and every change we have made has been in the direction of providing a better experience for our users and a compelling business opportunity for developers.

I am here today because scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate. We approach this process with respect and humility. But we make no concession on the facts.

After beginning with 500 apps, today the App Store hosts more than 1.7 million—only 60 of which are Apple software. Clearly, if Apple is a gatekeeper, what we have done is open the gate wider. We want to get every app we can on the Store, not keep them off.

More than 1.9 million American jobs in all 50 states are attributable to the App Store ecosystem—from Fortune 500 companies that got their start on the iPhone, to small independent developers and students bringing the next big idea to life.

An Apple-commissioned study by economists at the Analysis Group found that, in 2019 alone, the App Store ecosystem facilitated over half a trillion dollars in commerce worldwide and $138 billion just in the United States. This is nothing short of an economic miracle in a relatively brief span of time.

We continue to invest heavily and constantly in the App Store’s improvement, giving every developer access to the very latest technology. We relentlessly evangelize coding education at all levels, from elementary schools to community colleges. We do these things not out of obvious financial interest, but because we realize that we have a long-term stake in the health, dynamism and vitality of the whole system.

We recognize that with pride in what we have built, comes responsibility for what it contains. Our users expect and deserve the highest standard of privacy, security and quality in what they discover on the App Store.

I share the Subcommittee’s belief that competition is a great virtue, that it promotes innovation, that it makes space for the next great idea and that it gives consumers more choices.

Since Apple was founded, these things have defined us. The first Mac brought opportunity and possibility into the home. The iPod created new opportunities for musicians and artists to share their creations and be paid fairly for it.

This legacy does much more than make us proud. It inspires us to work tirelessly to make sure tomorrow will be even better than today.

Thank you very much. I look forward to answering your questions.


  1. I should have the right to sell my App anywhere that would accept it. Period!
    I should have the right to shop for Apps other than the App Store. Period!

    I own my device, Apple does not. Not since they sold it to me in exchange for money.

    1. “I should have the right to sell my App anywhere that would accept it.”—Apple doesn’t accept it.

      “I should have the right to shop for Apps other than the App Store.”—The GooglePlay and Amazon Fire store will sell you all the apps you want.

      “I own my device, Apple does not.”—But Apple does own the iOS App Store, iOS, and is responsible for the health of the entire ecosystem.

      Again, where is Zunetang when you need him?

        1. Both Google’s and Amazon’s stores have exceptionally poor quality control. Virtually anything can be published there. Weekly (and almost daily) I read of apps on those stores with viruses and worse, stealing the users’ information and sending it to some unknown server somewhere.

          Apple does not want that kind of trash on the iPhones or iPads. It will do nothing but taint the reputation of the iPhone ecosystem. Apple’s curation on the App Store attempts to keep this crap from happening on the iPhon and iPade. Sure, a few leak through, but such adverse occurrences happen MUCH less often through Apple’s store.

          Further, if you are a real developer rather than just trolling, there is nothing keeping you from doing an app on Apple’s store then doing the same app (with appropriate tweaks) for Google’s or Amazon’s store. Go for it. Apple will not care at all if you do that.
          Finally, if you REALLY want to put crap onto your iPhone from almost anywhere, just get it 100% unlocked and jailbroken. Then you can put almost any crap onto your phone you want from almost any source you want. I have never heard of Apple going after an individual who did that. So, you are free to do so too.

      1. Most arguments against having alternate iOS App stores center around quality and security. The current Apple model prevents ‘proven’ brands from selling iOS apps directly to the consumer as is possible with Android. App ‘stores’ need not sell apps from multiple vendors. This may be one point that is brought up in the inquiry.

  2. As a consumer, if what Apple is doing with the App Store protects consumers, then I’m all for it. I doubt any developer is being forced to develop for iOS, so they should just go develop for Android OS which actually has a monopoly in mobile market share. Those unhappy developers should only develop for the biggest platform on the planet and they can make all the money they want with almost no restrictions. How many users does Android OS have by now? A few billion, at least. That should be more than enough users to make money from. I still don’t quite understand how iOS with such minor mobile market share is a monopoly. Next they’ll be claiming Tesla is a monopoly because they only use their own software in their cars or some nonsense. Apple never wins. Not powerful enough for Wall Street, but too powerful for the Feds.

    1. i’m surprised how people are terrified by corporate abuse of power but cool with the unlimited power of the government. Of course companies can misuse their power but who do you fear more a company that can stack its books and raise prices on tea or a “company” that can kick in your door at “4 in the morning” shoot your dog, scare your family for life and face no accountability. Just ask Bernard Madoff is making out.

  3. Funny how Democratic congress folk were concerned about how ‘fair’ the App Store is to large and small app developers. But, they don’t seem to have an issue with the fact that only conservative voices get banned, shadow banned, corrected, and suspended from social media sites. Hmmm.

  4. apple should make an android or open source os that “unhappy” user can install on their phones, But once you install that OS on your iPhone you are on your own. Kinda like when a new car warranty is voided once you put unsupported parts on it. If people want to leave the quality and security of the platform they should have the right but they dome have the right to compromise the rest of the ecosystem.

  5. Because allowing your phone to download garbage makes all phones vulnerable, but you are too stupid to know it

    Just when I think you are out of stupid things to say you come up with more

  6. Watched it all; Tim Cook’s answers were sharp, focused, hence the most genuine and heartfelt. His dissembling was nearly zero; The others dissembled a lot and even attempted to filibuster as much as possible, but the sensors cut them off which I appreciated. He represented Apple most elegantly.

    Over all, however, all of the legislators get kickbacks from the CEO’s companies. This should not be so.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.