WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) applauds the introduction of the bipartisan “Open App Markets Act” in the U.S. Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The legislation would help create a more competitive app marketplace that will ignite innovation in the digital economy, and provide more options for American consumers. CAF executive director Meghan DiMuzio released the following statement after today’s bill introduction:
“Since launching CAF, we have worked toward creating a fairer and more competitive app marketplace for both developers and consumers. The bipartisan Open App Markets Act is a step towards holding big tech companies accountable for practices that stifle competition for developers in the U.S. and around the world. CAF is proud to stand with Senators Blumenthal, Blackburn, and Klobuchar, and we thank them for their courageous and visionary leadership on this important issue.”
“This legislation will tear down coercive anticompetitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choices and smaller startup tech companies a fighting chance,” said Senator Blumenthal. “For years, Apple and Google have squashed competitors and kept consumers in the dark—pocketing hefty windfalls while acting as supposedly benevolent gatekeepers of this multi-billion dollar market. I’m proud to partner with Senators Blackburn and Klobuchar in this breakthrough blow against Big Tech bullying. This bipartisan bill will help break these tech giants’ ironclad grip, open the app economy to new competitors, and give mobile users more control over their own devices.”
“Big Tech giants are forcing their own app stores on users at the expense of innovative start-ups,” said Senator Blackburn. “Apple and Google want to prevent developers and consumers from using third-party app stores that would threaten their bottom line. Their anticompetitive conduct is a direct affront to a free and fair marketplace. Senator Blumenthal, Klobuchar, and I are committed to ensuring U.S. consumers and small businesses are not punished by Big Tech dominance.”
“Competition is critical to protecting small businesses and consumers, spurring innovation, and promoting economic equity. But as mobile technologies have become essential to our daily lives, it has become clear that a few gatekeepers control the app marketplace, wielding incredible power over which apps consumers can access. This raises serious competition concerns,” said Senator Klobuchar. “By establishing new rules for app stores, this legislation levels the playing field and is an important step forward in ensuring an innovative and competitive app marketplace.”
The Open App Markets Act would fix a broken app marketplace by barring app stores from requiring apps to use their in-app payment systems, through which they charge exorbitant fees and block communications between developers and their own customers. It would also strengthen consumer freedom by allowing people to choose and install the app store and default apps that make the most sense for them, and easily delete pre-installed apps they don’t want to use. Additionally, the legislation prohibits anti-competitive practices, such as “self-preferencing,” by banning app stores from engaging in behaviors that put their products at an advantage over independent developers and competitors.
The Open App Markets Act is being introduced at a critical global juncture. The EU, UK, South Korea, Australia, India, Japan, and others are advancing regulatory and legislative reforms that hold the potential to make the global app ecosystem fairer and more open. CAF is proud to see America keep stride with the global community to combat this harmful anticompetitive behavior.