App Store Policies of Apple and Google
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Marsha Blackburn, and Amy Klobuchar go for antitrust legislation against Apple and Google. The Blumenthal-led bill in both houses of Congress to take on Big Tech. There is a package of bills from Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., that could come up for a full House vote later this year as Cicilline, chairman of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, negotiates with California House members to gain their support for the legislation. That will affect some of the state’s largest companies like Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook.
The recent push for legislation shows political and consumer pressure to more closely oversee the so-called GAFA of Big Tech, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, as their power has expanded during the Covid19 pandemic. As of today, the collective market value of the four companies is nearly $7 trillion.
Open App Markets Act
According to these US senators, Apple and Google have “gatekeeper control” that is creating hurdles in the implementation of protecting the competition and strengthen consumer protections. Because the both two main mobile operating systems (OS) and their app stores, allowing them to dictate the terms of the app market.
“Economies change. Antitrust law is out of date by a century,” said Andy Yen, CEO of Proton Technologies, one of the founding members of Coalition for App Fairness, an organization of more than 50 developers opposed to the app store policies of Apple and Google. Without new antitrust parameters, he added, federal agencies and courts “are bringing a knife to a gunfight” to enforce anticompetitive behavior.
Terms of New Bill
According to new bill terms, the new condition is applicable to those companies that own or control an App Store with more than 50,000,000 users. And Apple would not be able to require developers to use its own in-app purchase system, and it would be required to allow the developers to distribute apps through alternative app stores.
“Readily accessible means” for iPhone users
Apple is bound to give “readily accessible means” for iPhone users, to install 3rd-party apps or app stores outside of Apple’s own App Store, and also allow their customers to choose 3rd-party apps and app stores while also hiding standard Apple apps.
Apple is also bound to provide developers with access to operating system interfaces, development information, and hardware and software features. Their strict retaliation against developers, that decided to distribute apps using alternative means, and Apple would also not be allowed to unreasonably preference its own apps is no more allowed.
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