Apple’s control of the iOS App Store is under threat by the U.S antitrust bill “Open Market Act” which has moved to the committee stage, one step away from becoming law. Aiming “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy,
increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers”, the bill will force Apple and Google to allow sideloading (alternative app stores) on iOS and Android platforms.
The U.S antitrust bill would allow third-party app stores on iOS and Android if passed
Recently, South Korea passed a landmark bill that compels Apple and Google to allow alternative payment methods on their app stores, App Store and Play Store. But, the U.S “Open Market Act” antitrust bill will be more damning for the tech giants than the South Korean law because it will allow third-party app stores on iOS and Android platforms.
As Google already permits Android users to download apps outside the Play Store, its only concern will be the commission it charges from developers for using its service. But Apple has been strongly pushing against the proposal of permitting third-party app stores on iOS over security concerns.
The tech giant argues that before being introduced on the App Store, each app goes through a vetting review process which works as a safety net for consumers and provides a secure marketplace for iOS users to install apps. However, without the App Store review process, apple will not able to guarantee such safety to its consumers in third-party app stores. The company has detailed the detrimental side-effects of sideloading in two white papers: Building a trust economy for millions of apps in June and October 2021.
Apple’s argument for the preservation of the iOS App Store from alternative payment methods is not convincing enough. One of the legislators, Senator Blumenthal said that “I found this predatory abuse of Apple and Google so deeply offensive on so many levels. Their power has reached a point where they are impacting the whole economy in stifling and strangling innovation” and the new Open Market law will provide a fair chance to big and small developers to flourish, and give users more choices.
“This legislation will forcibly break down anti-competitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choice and a chance for smaller startup tech companies. For years, Apple and Google have crushed competitors and kept consumers in the dark – raking in hefty profits while serving as the supposedly benevolent gatekeeper of this multi-billion dollar market.
I am proud to partner with Senators Blackburn and Klobuchar on this breakthrough against big tech bullying. This bipartisan law will help break the iron grip of these tech giants and open up the app economy to new competitors and give mobile users more control over their own devices. “
Click here to read the complete antitrust bill.