Senate committee approves legislation aimed at Apple’s App Store; would mandate third-party app stores

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation that, if – Big IF – passed into law, would force Apple to allow third-part app stores.

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

Anna Edgerton and Siri Bulusu for Bloomberg News:

It still faces a long road to get a vote in the full Senate.

The bill seeks to loosen the duopoly that Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have over mobile app distribution, part of Congress’s push to curb the power of U.S. technology giants.

The measure, S. 2710, would require Apple to let users install apps on their phones and other devices from sources on the web or alternative app stores, a process that’s called sideloading.

The bill also would force app marketplaces to allow third-party app developers to communicate with customers outside the platforms about cheaper ways to subscribe and alternative ways to pay for services.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, as we wrote last August:

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 [these] 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.

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  1. Simple solution: Apple provides that using a third party app store voids the warranty and makes the device ineligible for AppleCare support — until the bonehead legislators outlaw that, too. But, it should be that using a third party app store is “proceed at your own risk.”

  2. This is criminally stupid with regard to unintended consequences of alternate stores and products.

    Hey, nice lemonade stand you have there kid. However, we think equity demands you sell your competitors lemonade at your own store.

    He Pizza store, you need to sell others Pizza, and while your at it, some burgers and fries, because we know better about what your store should offer.

    It’s moronic, so not surprised to see this fascist commie administration push it.

  3. While I agree with MDN’s take on this one, I’m a little surprised that no one has mentioned that this would also open the door for “free speech” apps that might get blocked by google or apple. And if people can load them through a separate App Store or by side loading, that would “encourage” apple and google to avoid removing them. So it seems to me that people championing free speech might have cause to support this bill.

    But aside from that, this legislation is a terrible idea, for all of the reasons MDN listed.

    1. True, however, those platforms themselves have already begun censoring and banning users who dare share an opinion that contradicts their narrative. Worse yet, you’re not even allowed to question anything that you are told, despite the fact that science is all about exploration and re-evaluating data.

      1. Which is why “platforms” should have doors.
        There was a time in the 90s where AOL was a safe, curated piece of the internet. But you weren’t locked into it on your PERSONAL computer.

  4. Apple shot themselves in the foot when they removed the Parler app, and when they announced the photos scanning and iMessage spying. Any time I see them talk about security and privacy I laugh now. They’ve lost the ability to Think Different.

  5. Why should the government care? The App Store pays taxes on each sale. Would a Russian company pay sales tax on sideloaded apps? Probably not.

    Being popular does not a monopoly make. Monopolies happen when you purchase competitors for your own platform, such as Facebook controlling instagram, or when you block the competition from the marketplace, like Microsoft does.

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