In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News Wednesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn (Republican from Tennessee) stated that her legislation would dismantle the duopoly between Apple and Google’s app stores. This could still pass during Congress’s lame duck session.
Blackburn spoke with Breitbart News when Apple threatened to remove Twitter from its iPhone Apple Store. Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook said the report was a “misunderstanding”, but the threat raises questions about how much control Apple and Google have over their apps stores and the internet ecosystem.
Blackburn stated that Apple and Google have a “stranglehold over companies” and have “used their leverage [to bully businesses]”. She also said that her legislation, the Open App Markets Act, would allow consumers to choose whether to use Twitter, and not Tim Cook.
The legislation would allow third-party apps to be downloaded, which Apple currently prohibits, protect sideloading of apps onto phones and give consumers greater control over their devices.
According to Congress.gov, the bill would also:
An app is a program or electronic service that can be used on a mobile device or computer. An app store is a website or software application that is publicly accessible and distributes apps developed by third-party developers to users.
The bill forbids covered companies from (1) requiring developers that they use an in-app payments system owned or controlled or (2) requiring that their pricing or conditions be equal or more favorable on its store than on any other app store or (3) taking punitive actions against a developer who uses or offers different pricing terms and conditions through another in-app purchase system or app store.
Covered companies may not interfer with developers’ and users’ legitimate business communications, use non-public information from third-party apps to compete with them, or unreasonably favor or rank their own apps (or those made by its business partners).
The bill allows for the enforcement of its provisions by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice. Developers that have been injured by any provision of this bill can also bring suits.
Bipartisan support is given to the legislation. Sens. The bill was cosponsored by Richard Blumenthal (D–CT) and Amy Klobuchar, (D–MN). The bill has 14 cosponsors, and was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Blackburn stated that the bill could still be passed by Congress as Congress nears its lame duck session.
This would empower consumers and end the monopoly Apple and Google hold on apps. If you have an iPhone, Tim Cook has the power to choose which apps you will install on your phone. The 30% profit is split between the two companies. The innovator gets the remaining portion. They are unable to communicate with consumers directly. All communication is through Apple.
According to the Tennessee conservative, Apple and Google make significant money through their app store. This is why they don’t want this bill to be passed. It would allow consumers to control their smartphones and apps.
Many technology and consumer groups and experts in telecommunications support the legislation. These include Zach Graves (executive director of Lincoln Network), Joel Thayer (president of Digital Progress Institute), Jon Schweppe (director of government affairs at American Principles Project) and Brendan Carr (FCC Commissioner).
Blackburn stated that the bill should be quickly moved from the Senate to the House and onto the desk of the President for him to sign.