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Senator Klobuchar is Hellbent on pushing the 'Open App Markets Act' to end Apple and Google’s twin monopolies

1 x cover Apple's App Store


It's being reported today that U.S. lawmakers are barreling ahead with legislation to change the way Apple Inc. runs its App Store, unconvinced by the company’s recent moves to address antitrust complaints from developers and regulators around the world.


A proposed bill from a bipartisan trio of senators would force significant changes to the way consumers download and use apps on their iPhones and other Apple devices. Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, head of the Senate antitrust subcommittee and one of the bill’s sponsors, said Congress is no longer willing to trust tech companies to "do the right thing."


Klobuchar said Tuesday in a statement to Bloomberg, that "Though Apple has taken some small steps to respond to criticism of its anti-competitive conduct, they did not go nearly far enough. There is growing momentum to pass the Open App Markets Act to finally address Apple and Google’s twin monopolies, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it done."


Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Store hold a duopoly on the mobile app market outside China. Last year in the U.S., 59% of app downloads were on Apple’s App Store, and 41% were on Google Play, according to data from Sensor Tower, an app data company.


The Senate bill would require devices to host alternative app stores, allow consumers to make purchases using alternative payment systems, and give app developers access to all aspects of iPhone hardware, including components that previously remained exclusive to Apple’s apps and accessories.


Several global developments, including a similar law passed last month by South Korea’s National Assembly, have generated momentum for the U.S. to make its own changes. Bipartisan support for the app store proposal means it has potential to gain traction, even though Congress has a full slate when lawmakers return to Washington this month.


John Bergmayer, legal director of tech-policy organization Public Knowledge, which supports the Klobuchar bill stated that "There’s not 100% agreement among critics of the App Store model on exactly how far to go, but there’s consensus that probably we need to go a little further than what Apple has announced. It would be better if we resolved it in a more systematic way rather than waiting for these little piecemeal approaches," taken by Apple and Google.


 For more on this story, read the full Bloomberg report.


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