New U.S. Bill Would Require Companies Like Apple, Google to Give up App Store Power; Open up Sideloading, More

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A new bipartisan antitrust bill was introduced today by senators Richard Blumenthal, Marsha Blackburn, and Amy Klobuchar, and it targets Apple and Google, along with the power they wield on their app stores. If the bill passes, then Apple and Google would have to support third-party payments options and other changes, which have been discussed at length here.

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The terms of the bill state that any company whose app store controls more than 50 million users, such as Apple and Google, would not require developers to use its own payment systems. Additionally, these developers would be allowed to distribute their apps to alternative app stores. Senator Blackburn says that Apple’s and Google’s practices discourage a fair marketplace.

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“Big Tech giants are forcing their own app stores on users at the expense of innovative start-ups. Apple and Google want to prevent developers and consumers from using third-party app stores that would threaten their bottom line. Their anticompetitive conduct is a direct affront to a free and fair marketplace. Senator Blumenthal, Klobuchar, I are committed to ensuring U.S. consumers and small businesses are not punished by Big Tech dominance.”

Companies like Apple would also not take action against developers that distribute their apps elsewhere. Such firms would also need to provide these developers access to operating system interfaces, hardware and software features, and more. Senator Klobuchar implies that the power that Apple and Google wield stifles competition, which puts small businesses and consumers in harm’s way.

“Competition is critical to protecting small businesses and consumers, spurring innovation, and promoting economic equity. But as mobile technologies have become essential to our daily lives, it has become clear that a few gatekeepers control the app marketplace, wielding incredible power over which apps consumers can access. This raises serious competition concerns. By establishing new rules for app stores, this legislation levels the playing field and is an important step forward in ensuring an innovative and competitive app marketplace.”

Apple recently settled a lawsuit with iOS virtualization firm Corellium, which may give senators some hope regarding their legislation. We will update our readers if it gets passed.

News Source: Blumenthal

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