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.

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Scott B in DC

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… Read more »

Lee Dronick

No! We have enough problem with cybercriminals without have folks tricked into installing malware.

palmac

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.

John Q

In the halls of government, the Telco Cartel is a reliable contributor, so it is considered a protected class.