As reported by CNBC, Apple has added a new section about antitrust risk to its annual proxy statement. The company released the filing with the SEC on Tuesday, a requirement before it holds its Annual Shareholders Meeting which will occur on February 23.
The new language talks about Apple’s Audit Committee and Board of Directors regularly meeting to talk about antitrust risks to the company. In addition, it also highlights the role that the company’s Antitrust Compliance Officer and their reports play in “detecting and preventing antitrust issues and promoting compliance with laws and Apple policies.”
“The Audit Committee and Board regularly review and discuss with management Apple’s antitrust risks. Apple’s Antitrust Compliance Officer is responsible for the development, review, and execution of Apple’s Antitrust Compliance Program and regularly reports to the Audit Committee. These reports cover, among other matters, the alignment of the program with Apple’s potential antitrust risks, and the effectiveness of the program’s design in detecting and preventing antitrust issues and promoting compliance with laws and Apple policies.”
As noted by the outlet, last year’s proxy report only mentioned antitrust once, so it’s larger presence this year signals Apple’s acknowledgment of antitrust being a larger threat to the company.
Last year’s proxy report mentioned antitrust once in the context of evaluating new board members and did not say that Apple’s audit committee oversees antitrust concerns. Apple is required to publish its proxy report ahead of its annual shareholders meeting … The details about Apple’s antitrust compliance program comes in the middle of an expanded section about which parts of Apple the audit committee oversees, including data security, business conduct and taxes. Apple’s audit committee is composed of James Bell, Monica Lozano, Sue Wagner and Ron Sugar, its chair.
Apple, along with most of the big tech companies, has been under increasing pressure from governments across the world concerning antitrust. Apple specifically is being scrutinized because of its control of the App Store. Most notably, Tim Cook testified to Congress during its antitrust investigation into companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon.