On Tuesday, Senators Richard Blumenthal, Marsha Blackburn, and Amy Klobuchar put forward their new Open App Markets Act bill, and now, news has it that tech giants Apple and Google, who are likely to be the worst hit should the bill be approved, are rather worried about the new open app market legislation. For the unversed, if the bill comes into force, it will make it mandatory for app store giants, notably Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, to become more amenable to app developers, third-party app stores, and even side-loaded apps.
Shortly after the bill was proposed, a statement was sent to the media by Chamber of Progress, a group led by both Apple and Google, claiming that the Act is a “finger in the eye of anyone” who purchases a model running on either Android and iOS, while adding that the app stores are completely safe and reliable.
Paving The Way For Open Market, Or Making Phones Dumber?
Chamber of Progress prides itself in (apparently) being an “industry policy coalition” which is aimed at promoting a “progressive future” for technology. CEO Adam Kovacevich points out that none of the millions of Apple and Google users have “marched in Washington” to demand that the Congress pass a legislation to “make their smartphones dumber.”
One may note, however, that Kovacevich is known to previously have been a long-term Google lobbyist. His new group counts social media giants Facebook and Twitter, and online retail biggie Amazon, in its partners, along with Google and Apple. Interestingly, the Chamber holds that none of its partners are members of its board, and that it, in no way, promotes the opinions or interests of any of its partner firms.
A Deep-Seated Battle
Nevertheless, the aims of the group interestingly align with Apple and Google’s interests, as the two tech biggies have, for a while, been fighting against attempts to make their app store environments more inclusive and developer-friendly. For the past few months, game-maker Epic Games has been at loggerheads with Apple, over the latter’s demands that any in-app payment received by the developer’s apps go through the gateways built into its App Store, which allows it to gain a large commission per transaction.
This time around, the Senators believe that their bill carries the power to rid the app market of the “gatekeeper control” that Apple and Google have over them. This would be brought about by preventing them from blocking apps to contain third-party or in-app app stores, or from processing transactions through third-party routes.