Senators Introduce Bill That Could Force Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores

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U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Open App Markets Act on Wednesday. It targets Big Tech companies like Apple and Google.

Open App Markets Act

The act [PDF] is designed to “set fair, clear, and enforceable rules to protect competition and strengthen consumer protections within the app market.” It’s designed to enable three things:

  • Protect developers’ rights to tell consumers about lower prices and offer competitive pricing; protect sideloading of apps
  • Open up competitive avenues for startup apps, third party app stores, and payment services
  • Make it possible for developers to offer new experiences that take advantage of consumer device features

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.

One antitrust argument against Apple is the fact that, not only does it require developers to use its own system for payments, it forbids they add messaging within the app to let users know they could get a different price outside of the App Store.

4 thoughts on “Senators Introduce Bill That Could Force Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores

  • In a quick read of the bill, there are provisions that were tested in the past and were struck down by previous rulings, like the restriction of private APIs. The courts allowed Microsoft to have private APIs during its 20 year anti-trust ordeal.

    A way around the in-app purchase issue is to create an API and charge for access to the API.

    Apple may allow side loading of apps but they can restrict access to certain functions if you do not use their app store. Again, this was tested by companies making security software. In that case, Microsoft required the developers to be part of their development service.

    The only thing this bill will do is create a new market for lawyers. Under Section 5 it allows everyone from the FTC to the Justice Department to every two-bit lawyer out there to have cause to sue Apple and Google. The result is going to be many years of messy litigation while nothing happens.

    It’s funny that the bill references the Clayton Act because doesn’t take into consideration case law created by US v. Microsoft. That case was a CHARLIE FOXTROT and led to the creation of the new Microsoft that is now more dominant in cloud computing systems than Google while beginning to put a dent into Amazon’s business.

    The U.S. government has not learned its lesson. When the government broke up Standard Oil under the Sherman Anti-trust Act, it make JD Rockefeller the richest man in the world. Microsoft didn’t do so bad fighting the Justice Department for 20 years, just ask the owner of the LA Clippers who bought the team for CASH, Steve Balmer. As an AAPL shareholder, I say “bring it on.”

  • So the same senate that allowed internet-access monopolies is cracking down on a non-monopoly app store? If this passes Apple should require that “alternative” app stores be called “Malware Mall” or “Virus paradise” for truth in advertising reasons.

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