New bipartisan senate bill aims to crack down on Apple and Google’s app distribution monopolies
In July this year, the U.S. states of Utah, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee filed a lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit, which was signed by 32 other U.S. states, alleged that Google engaged in monopolistic practices to maintain dominance in Android app distribution and payment processing for digital content purchased through the Google Play Store. Senators Richard Blumenthal and March Blackburn have now introduced a bipartisan bill to crack down on Apple and Google’s app distribution monopoly while promoting competition and consumer protections.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the bipartisan bill will place new restrictions on how Apple and Google’s app stores operate and what rules they can impose on app developers. The bill, called the Open App Markets Act, is the latest move from lawmakers to address the influence of big tech across a wide range of markets, including search, advertising, and social media. It specifically aims to address the concerns among developers, such as Epic Games, regarding in-app payments and app distribution limitations on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Talking about the bill, Senator Blumental said, “For years, Apple and Google have squashed competitors and kept consumers in the dark — pocketing hefty windfalls while acting as supposedly benevolent gatekeepers of the multibillion-dollar market. This partisan bill will help break these tech giants’ ironclad grip, open the app economy to new competitors and give mobile users more control over their own devices.”
In response to the bill, Apple released a statement claiming that its app store “is the cornerstone of our work to connect developers and customers in a way that is safe and trustworthy. The result has been an unprecedented engine of economic growth and innovations.” Google, however, declined to comment on the legislation. The company said that its Android system already provides a choice that others don’t, allowing device makers and carriers to preload competing app stores along with the Google Play Store.