The vacation rental company Airbnb and the fitness class service ClassPass have spoken to the company’s legislators about antitrust concerns raised by Apple’s 30 percent App Store commission. The New York Times Reports. Both companies had started offering virtual services because of the COVID-19 pandemic, just so Apple could contact them to request 30 percent of sales through their iOS apps.
The news that both companies have met with lawmakers comes the day before Apple CEO Tim Cook is due to testify before the House Judiciary Committee’s cartel committee alongside the CEOs of Amazon, Google and Facebook. Apple̵
The committee has amassed at least 1.3 million documents, conducted five hearings, and spent hundreds of hours interviewing while investigating the major technology companies over the course of its investigation.
The EU also launched its own antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay guidelines earlier this year.
In the case of ClassPass, The New York Times reports that it started offering virtual practice classes since the gyms were closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and dropped its standard virtual class commission to pass on all revenue to the gyms themselves. It has reportedly not paid Apple a fee before, but was asked to pay 30 percent after its classes went virtual. In response, the offer of virtual classes via the iPhone app was discontinued. According to the NYTClassPass was informed that it had time to pay the fee by the end of the month, but Apple said it had time to meet the fees by the end of the year.
In the meantime, Airbnb offered “online experiences” such as cooking classes and meditation sessions in response to the pandemic. It is an extension of the experience that it has offered alongside its traditional holiday apartments since 2016. The New York Times reports that Airbnb is still in negotiations with Apple.
Airbnb and ClassPass would not be the first companies to complain about Apple’s App Store guidelines. A well-known example came earlier this year when Basecamp got involved in a bitter fight with Apple over its 30 percent commission policy after launching its Hey email service. Apple initially prevented its iOS app from receiving updates because there was no way to sign in to the app. Finally, Apple approved the app in its store when Hey said it would offer free email addresses that expire after 14 days.
Amid these complaints, the amount of money Apple is earning with services is booming. In April’s second quarter earnings, Cook reported an “all time record” for Apple Services Division sales, which rose from $ 11.5 billion in the previous year to $ 13.3 billion.
“To ensure that every developer can build and grow a successful business, Apple maintains clear, consistent guidelines that apply to everyone,” said Apple The New York Times in a statement. The app guidelines are from 2010.