“The law will break down the compulsory anti-competitive barriers in the app economy, give consumers more choice, and give smaller startup technology companies a chance to fight,” Blumental said.
What does the bill do
The bill is clearly targeted at Apple and Google, targeting companies that own or control an app store with at least 50 million US users. Companies “allow and provide easy access for users”, “select a third-party app or App Store as the default for the appropriate category for the App or App Store”, “third-party apps or You need to “install the App Store by means”. Other than the App Store. Apple and Google must also allow users to “hide or remove apps or App Stores provided or pre-installed by the App Store owner or its business partners.”
Android allows sideloading and third-party app stores, Apple locks iOS more tightly, but if legislation is enacted, both companies may have to change their business practices to varying degrees there is. Despite Android’s openness to iOS, 36 states sued Google last month, claiming it worked to “preemptively crush” competing app stores.
The Open App Markets Act requires app store operators to require developers to use Apple’s and Google’s in-app payment systems, or blocks or penalizes developers who offer the same app elsewhere at different prices. It is prohibited to do it. Apple and Google are also not allowed to prioritize their apps in “unjustified” searches. This is defined as “apply a ranking scheme or algorithm that prioritizes apps” simply because it is owned by Apple and Google or its business partners. Well-disclosed advertising is exempt from that provision.
To assist third-party software developers, the bill states that Apple and Google have “timely, equivalent or functionally equivalent” to “access to operating system interfaces, development information, hardware and software features.” It states that it must be provided to the developer “on condition”. Terms that apply to Apple and Google or their business partners.
Violations of the bill are considered an unfair way of competing under US law. The Federal Trade Commission, the United States Attorney General, and the Attorney General can sue companies for violations. Developers who are “injured for reasons prohibited by this law” can sue the company for damages and injunctive relief.
Apple and Google are likely to oppose the bill for security reasons. In particular, Apple advertises the security benefits of the iOS app model, and generally it is not possible to install software from outside the App Store. To address this issue, the Open App Markets Act allows businesses to impose limits designed solely for security purposes, which is ambiguously defined.
The bill states that actions by app store operators are “necessary to achieve user privacy, security, or digital security, taken to prevent spam or fraud, or taken to prevent breaches, or If “taken to comply”, it states that it does not violate the proposed law. , Federal or state law. To obtain this exemption, Apple and Google stated that “the actions described are clearly and consistently applied to the App of the Company or its Business Partners, and other apps.” And must be established with compelling evidence. Exclude third-party apps, in-app payment systems, or app stores, or impose unnecessary or discriminatory conditions, and are narrowly tuned. , Could not be achieved by discriminatory and technically feasible means. “
App battle on the way
The swift response from Apple and Google-funded groups to Wednesday’s announcement foresees another battle at Capitol Hill if the bill moves forward. As I wrote at the time, Apple “launched substantive public relations” in June in response to “a call from regulators to open the door to alternative app stores and sideloading apps on the iPhone.” CEO Tim Cook said sideloading “is not in the best interests of the user,” another Apple executive claimed that “sideloading in this case actually eliminates the option,” sideloading said. I explained that it is an installation of an application equivalent to “dark alleys and side roads”. road. “
When 36 states filed an antitrust proceeding against Google last month, Google called the complaint worthless and “a lawsuit in which a group of state attorney generals attacked a system that offered more openness and selectivity than others. It’s strange that I chose to wake up. ” Meanwhile, the Coalition for App Fairness, made up of members such as Spotify, Epic Games, Match Group, Basecamp, ProtonMail, and Deezer, participates in the Open App Markets Act.