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.
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.