U.S. Senate bill would force Apple to destroy their walled garden, allow third-party app stores

Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate would impose new restrictions and requirements on Apple’s App Store and Google Play — designed to end the two tech giants’ virtual monopoly control over the app ecosystem. The new Senate bill, the Open App Markets Act, among other things would prohibit Apple and Google from requiring developers use their in-app payment systems, which take a standard 30% commission — and would let consumers select different third-party app stores for their mobile devices.

Apple's App Store on iPhone
Apple’s App Store on iPhone

Todd Spangler for Variety:

The legislation was introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Wednesday.

According to the lawmakers, the Open App Markets Act would: protect developers’ rights to tell consumers about lower prices and offer competitive pricing; require devices allow “sideloading” of apps; open up competitive avenues for startup apps, third-party app stores and payment services; give consumers more control over their devices; prevent app stores from disadvantaging developers; and set safeguards to continue to protect privacy, security and safety of consumers.

In addition to requiring app stores to let developers use alternate payment mechanisms, the Open App Markets Act would let users choose which apps they want as their defaults (and delete pre-installed apps they don’t want) install their choice of app store on their own devices. The bill would bar app stores from “self-preferencing” (putting their own products at an advantage over those of competitors) and would prohibit Apple and Google from using confidential business information of third-party apps to create a competing product.

“Big Tech giants are forcing their own app stores on users at the expense of innovative startups,” Blackburn said in a statement. “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.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, by all means, let’s turn the Garden of Eden into a glorious combination of the streets of Detroit and Chicago. Makes tons of sense.

“Hey, let’s dramatically increase the potential for malicious code and behavior on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV!”

“What a great idea!” exclaim three idiot U.S. Senators.

We await the U.S. Senate bills that force Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation to allow third-party app stores with bated breath.

Spotify, Epic Games, etc.’s demand they should be able to advertise alternative deals within their iOS app is a practice that no store in the world allows.

The fact is that when Sony sells TVs in Best Buy, they’re not allowed to place placards next to each unit that say the same unit is cheaper at Target, along with QR codes that launch Amazon’s app offering the exact same TV at a lower price.

Once again, Spotify et al. want all the benefits of the App Store for free.

Of course, we’re all for Apple allowing app developers to inform users that the App Store isn’t their only shopping option, as long as Spotify, Epic Games or any other developer simply pay Apple a 15% – 30% advertising fee for each sale they make as a result of being offered the alternative payment option via Apple’s App Store. 😉

Apple deserves compensation from any developer using their store for distribution, advertising, etc.

Hopefully, Apple (and Google) lobbyists will be able to quash this mess of a bill with aplomb.

The full text of the Senate bill can be found here.


  1. When Microsoft mandated that everyone had to have Explorer as their browser, people understood why that was a problem. The excuses for making IE unremovable were just that. This isn’t a binary choice. People ought to be able to choose their software without having thousands of dollars of hardware held hostage. Apple openly puts limits on iPhone users that have nothing to do with security, but are simply their social agenda.

    If I want to trust one or two other companies besides Apple, that is much different from letting any idiot run code on my machine. And anyway, I’d rather be in Detroit or Chicago than North Korea.

      1. Here are three concrete examples:

        Apple pulls ‘iDOS 2’ from App Store

        – Can’t emulate DOS? Because we might play games that we paid for years ago?

        – The problem had nothing to do with e-cigerettes, and was instead due to Chinese THC fluids, and american tobacco companies using their political influence to get people back on real cigarettes.

        The content, while a serious problem, was no different then what appears on larger sites. Also opens the door to censorship of political speech.

        I don’t want to get off track arguing about the political issues of two of those. The point is that it is dangerous for a corporation to make political decisions, and enforce those decision with their control of hardware that I paid for. I might agree with Apple today, but what happens when they make a decision tomorrow that I don’t like?

          1. And it goes to name calling. “Wow Dyx”. No point in continuing this conversation. Did you ever think that freedom is the wrong choice for people who argue like they were nine years old?

    1. My problem with Apple these days is that I am increasingly feeling they are becoming sneakier, deceitful and slippery etc. under this management (or CEO I should say?). It’s a cumulative effect that is slowly driving me, a 35 year Apple fun, knowing no other partner (to date) at least on iPhone. I am corralled into Apple’s walled garden and slowly getting stifled. I may be beginning to seek for alternative phone at least. Google? Yes, they are very bad in terms of privacy but I believe they are at least open about it and it does not affect my life too much.
      Ever since we lost Jobs, Apple has been mired by all sorts of sneaky moves and lawsuits. Battery gate, thin gate, bend gate, planned obsolescence (related to battery gate too), right of repair movement (wait a minute. Right of repair? Of course we have it. Who is trying to interfere with it to keep their price, or force us to buy new devices? Thank you Louis Rossmann and ifix etc in addition to concern expressed by the congress), buying ultra cheap SSD in a commodity market and slap ultra high price for pure profit, soldered memories (yes I forgive you in the case of RAM on M1 chip), pentalobe screw head to make it difficult for us to get inside of anything Apple (although I forgive it to some extent as it was probably started in dying days of Steve Job’s era), concealing unit sale figure of iPhones by model when Apple felt danger of disclosing their greed attitude, you name it. I am sure there are so many of them that are more important and serious. On the surface, Apple try to pretend there is nothing there but class actions etc are very revealing.
      Any enterprise will try to protect their marketing edge or profitability. But Cook’s Apple went too far and I do not feel it is even Apple any more. Get out of phone-centric business (cash cow), stop milking us (why don’t you milk those outside of walled garden, rather than super loyal consumers in the garden?) and expand your world to more exciting products and ventures, Apple.

      1. “My problem with Apple these days is that I am increasingly feeling they are becoming sneakier, deceitful and slippery etc. under this management (or CEO I should say?).”

        Yes, will second that!! I’ll say it — Cook is all in the pursuit of profits, sneaky with the backdoor TOTAL SECURITY REVERSAL DISGRACE he is proposing everyone should abject to in loud tones!!

        Apple throws too many roadblocks in customer’s way these days under Cook and has taken away too many options like right of repair and products missing ports, expandability, and on and on as you pointed out.

        Ok, Cook is great at making trillions but it has gotten old and does not HELP customers only shareholders. Other than that, he is NOT GREAT at anything and must go A.S.A.P…

    2. Microsoft made Dell, Compaq, HP and other clone makers carry Windows and Explorer no matter what, Apple isn’t the marketshare leader in anything as all the Geeks keep pointing out.

  2. Agree with MDN’s take in itself. But since Apple has chosen to sooner breach through the walls of my own personal private space and making it unsafe from the slippery slope of their own scanning practices – I don’t do “Trust me Bro'” – their walled garden can go to smithereens too, I don’t care anymore, they’ve lost their love from me.

    Epic and its ilk are scum to be sure. But so are those who under the false pretense of Think of The Children in the long term destroy my private garden too.

    So go cry me a river, Apple.

  3. Great. And while you are at it, I want ..no, demand.. to have more choices on my next lawn mower. Fuel injection not a carborator. And if I want to use cheap, non OEM normal wear parts, I want the original manufacturer warranty to cover the machine, even if something goes wrong. Of course there is hyperbole in my comment, but having government wade into this part of technology rather the privacy threats, is beyond me. Watch out console manufacturers… you are next.

    1. Right now there are hobbyists who could realistically do that for you. No one is making you abandon thousands of dollars of electronics that you already paid for just so you can have that choice.

  4. You have a choice to not buy an iPhone if you don’t agree with Apples terms of service. There is no God given right for you to profit off Apples investment. Can Target sent sign waivers into WMT advertising there better prices. They can buy TV ad time if they want to advertise. Witout Apple most of these wanna be free loaders wouldn’t exist. By the way, if they want to have their own App Store, the can have Chinese company build a gamer phone with there Os for $1$125. Don’t believe me. Look up umidigi on AliExpress. I gave two of there phones, but still use my iPhone most of the time.

    1. Apple can change their terms of service any time they feel like it, and if you have already bought a phone from them you are SOL. A duopoly is not much better than a monopoly. Unlike the lawnmower example above, the barriers to entry for a new cell phone company are too high to prevent abuse from the Apple/Android duopoly.

  5. Re: Tau Mix: I’m all for monopoly busting, but when you mention duopoly, when’s the next limit before outrage, triopoly, quadopoly? When government starts telling non-monopoly companies how to do their business you have started an “Atlas Shrugged” mentality. Scary.

    1. Have you read Atlas Shrugged? That author has no idea how a conversation works, let alone a business or society. She describes Somalia and thinks that would be paradise. And she LOVES government when it is a law she needs: Not even her most heinous villains dare violate patents or copyright.

      1. Yes, I have enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged several times. You clearly have not read it once…”Not even her most heinous villains dare violate patents or copyrights”. THAT is what the book is entirely about, because it happens A LOT. No mention of Somalia in the 1,167 pages of the book either.

        Perhaps you have read a different book?
        Arguing is not the same thing as knowing, my friend.


  6. These politicians are probably be lobbied by the cry babies over at Epic games because they know they are going to lose their legal challenge to Apple, as there has been no evidence submitted to demonstrate any monopolistic practices by apple or google regarding their app stores. The fact they are giving this pointless topic so much time and effort shows their lack of priority in the health and safety of a country. Shameful.

  7. The free market is best and Apple and Google have used infrastructure long ago built by the taxpayers to create their stifling duopoly. As others have noted, the price of entry is now too high for fair competition.

    Apple itself was saved by government influence when Bill Gates invested in Apple in 1999 to make sure that at least SOME sting was taken out of the government’s anti-trust effort against MS. Therefore, Apple owes its existence to government help. As Apple and Google have shown, they WILL use their power against those they dislike; their customers, governments, everyone, when it suits them. For years, the tech tyrants told us that if we didn’t like Twitter, to build our own Twitter. So someone did and the tech titans, specifically Apple and Google, maliciously colluded to destroy Parler when it was poised to take off and it still hasn’t recovered. Frankly, Apple’s full-1984 move last week — to scan your devices for illicit material to use against it users — was the last straw for me. I am no longer a raving fan, but a resentful user looking for alternatives. Sorry it has to be this way, but I didn’t do it.

    Steve believed with all his heart that computers and related tech could improve the lives of average people and give them more opportunities to expand and create. That vision has been snuffed out by a walled garden that is now a surveillance yard nearly impossible to break out of. So sad. I want Steve to live again!

    So, I’m all for this bi-partisan effort to reign in big tech arrogance. Let big tech get punched in the nose a bit. It will do them good and prove that the people, not big tech, still are in charge.

    Let the tech world go back to being a little “Wild West” like it was in the early days. It will be great, we will have more choices, and we will save money. What’s not to like?

    1. Bill Gates invested in Apple in August 1997:


      “Frankly, Apple’s full-1984 move last week — to scan your devices for illicit material to use against it users — was the last straw for me. I am no longer a raving fan, but a resentful user looking for alternatives. Sorry it has to be this way, but I didn’t do it.”

      Here I wholeheartedly agree with you! What’s next, scan my MacPros, watch or iPad?

      Evaluating my options a painful decision because I bought the original iPhone on day one and an Apple PRO user since my Lisa in the early 1980s…

  8. Good, I love this!!! Break up the wall garden, break up apple services from software!!! It is gonna be so entertaining to watch the democratic government eat apple alive. Apple is setting on 2.4 Trillion dollars of social reconciliation. I can’t wait to watch Tim implode when he realizes the end game has come to his door. And just wait for the new corporate tax rates 28% cut into apple’s profits. I Bet apple is already moving to keep profits off shore. But don’t worry the Dems want let Apple off the hook, They will break apple down. Tim can run be he cant hide.

    Tim’s best move is to relocate to China and fast.

    Once the left makes USA politically system a one party system then they will turn up their focus dismantling all these “evil” big tech corporations that put them is power. Political Justice is so entertaining. Tim thought they would spare the Apple of his eye but nope Tim they just saved the sacrifice of Apple for desert. Grab the popcorn Apple’s self inflicted demise will be so entertaining.

    1. Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar sponsor the bill, which would bar big app stores from requiring app providers to use their payment system.

      “I found this predatory abuse of Apple and Google so deeply offensive on so many levels,” Blumenthal said in an interview Wednesday. “Their power has reached a point where they are impacting the whole economy in stifling and strangling innovation.”
      Blumenthal said he expected companion legislation in the House of Representatives “very soon.”
      The stakes are high for Apple, whose App Store anchors its $53.8 billion services business as the smartphone market has matured.
      Apple said its app store was “an unprecedented engine of economic growth and innovation, one that now supports more than 2.1 million jobs across all 50 states.”
      Google declined to comment

      Deeply offensive, impacting the whole economy, strangling innovation…

      How dare Apple imagine, design and innovate a products and services ecosystem as they see fit. The Democrats are coming for Apple.

  9. Funnily, I think Apple will gain from this as more people will buy their clearly better hardware and have the liberty to install whatever they want. And personally, after the case of « Parler » and some others, I’m for this legislation.

  10. Spotify will need to allow each music label to set up a music store inside of the Spotify platform, then each band should be allowed to set up an album store inside of the music label store, and then a song writer with publishing rights, can set up a separate store for the songs they wrote…

    Sounds awesome!

  11. Apple does not have a monopoly. People dont trust other systems. There are two kinds of people iPhone users and complainers. Using Android begrugingly while complaining about privacy and lack of options. The rest of the market lacks the moral fortitude to make privacy a right and fight Apple on those terms for the benefit of the customer. The only secure Android is Prism phone, and you still have to deal with Google’s crappy Play Store. They prefer to make YOU, the customer, the product. Innovation is shill for the current surveillance economy.
    In 2021 we are all digital prisoners. Privacy on Android is non-existent. Their app store is sh@t and has been so for awhile. The pundits in the chat have closed their eyes on the systematic oppression in China, the digital locks in Russia and even the abuses of Andaharr (India’s digital system) all facilitated primarily on Android phones. This crappy legislation simply brings that level of digital intrusion to the US under the guise of “open competition”
    Yes Apple makes over priced unservisable computers and phones. But the alternatives suck. I will gladly pay Apple tax of 30% for the peace of mind of not having my info being sucked directly to China without my knowledge.
    Lastly no business is innocent. Apple pays Google billions for search. Spotify does not compensate its artists. The entire tech ecosystem is rife with pay snd gender (not to mention minority hiring) bias. Truth and honesty have left American capitalism since Sam Walton. I guess greed has a legislative back door called Open App Markets. Maybe Apple should just shut it all down and force everyone to install Google Play. We’ll see how much commerce gets done then. I’ll happily give up my iphone and return to paper.

  12. I don’t get it. If the result is forcing Apple and Google to open up to 3rd party App stores where their is a payment system not controlled by Apple/Google, Google will just look confused since that is already the state of the App ecosystem in the Android community. Largest example for Android would be the Amazon App store, then maybe Samsung.

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