The U.S. House of Representatives is aligning with the U.S. Senate in support of a bipartisan bill that specifically targets the app stores run by Google and Apple, Reuters and other news outlets reported on Friday (Aug. 13).
The Open App Markets Act is intended to give app developers the opportunity to reach out directly to consumers regarding pricing and is expected to encourage competition for third-party app stores and payments.
The House bill, sponsored by Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo., and Hank Johnson. D-Ga., is a counterpart to a measure introduced earlier this week by three senators: Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
In June alone, The House Judiciary Committee supported six antitrust measures mostly aimed at reeling in tech giants Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.
“For far too long, companies like Google and Apple have had a stranglehold on app developers, who are forced to take whatever terms these monopolists set in order to reach their customers,” Buck told Reuters.
App stores brought in close to $33 billion in 2020, with app downloads hitting 13.4 billion, Buck’s office said.
Apple has maintained that its app store is responsible for creating 2.1 million jobs nationwide.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple referred to its app store as “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 innovation.”
Google has pointed to the fact that its Android smartphones come preloaded with two or more app stores.
The bill’s sponsors maintain that Apple and Google squeeze out rivals by acting as custodians of the mobile landscape.