What They Are Saying: Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bipartisan Open App Markets Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary advanced the bipartisan Open App Markets Act, out of the committee by a vote of 20-2. This proposal 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. The legislation will now advance to a vote on the Senate floor.

Please see the quotes below regarding yesterday’s passage:

“The Coalition for App Fairness applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for advancing the Open App Markets Act – a historic step toward competition in the app marketplace. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will hold gatekeeper platforms accountable, increase fair competition, and benefit consumers across the nation with greater choice and innovation. We are grateful to Senators Blumenthal, Blackburn, and Klobuchar for sponsoring this bill, and to the committee’s leadership for scheduling today’s vote. We urge the full Senate to now take up and pass this needed proposal.” – Meghan DiMuzio, Executive Director, Coalition for App Fairness

“Breaking Apple and Google’s ironclad grip on the multi-billion dollar app market will stop their predatory fees on consumers and barriers to start ups and rivals. This bill will lower charges and spur innovation while preserving privacy and security. Despite self-interested opposition, our bipartisan success reflects the American public’s view that the online app market is exploited by monopolistic gatekeepers—and needs reform. I will continue to lead this strongly bipartisan effort with Senator Blackburn, Chair Durbin, and my colleagues, marking today another significant step toward full Senate consideration and signing of this important measure into law.” – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

“The passage of the Open App Markets Act out of the Senate Judiciary committee brings us one step closer to having this legislation signed into law. This bill will let people download apps directly from outside companies rather than being forced to go through official app stores. In China, it will help citizens circumvent Beijing’s strict internet censorship. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his leadership and work on this effort.” – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

We have let these largest app stores owned and run by digital giants act anti-competitively for far too long. You can still believe in the work they’ve done, the people they employ, the innovation, and believe that we still have to put some rules of the road in place to allow the next Apple and the next Google to bring our next round of innovations.” – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

“Long before it was a $3 trillion company, Apple behaved like the rules of fair and open competition did not apply to it. At Spotify, we are grateful that Senators Klobuchar, Blumenthal, and Blackburn have taken note and taken action by introducing the Open App Markets Act and we applaud the committee for acting today to send it to the Senate floor for a vote. Apple and other gatekeeper platforms must be held accountable for their unfair and anti-competitive practices. This bill is a forceful move in that direction and we look forward to its swift passage.” – Gene Burrus, Director of Global Competition Policy, Spotify

“Passing the Open App Markets Act out of committee is an important milestone in the fight for fair and open mobile app stores. Apple and Google have proven time and again that only legal and regulatory pressure spur them to change their policies that harm developers and consumers. We cannot leave these monopolists to self regulate. This bill will bring much needed competition in app distribution and payments and prevent Apple and Google from retaliating against developers that challenge their anticompetitive practices.” – Corie Wright, Vice President of Public Policy, Epic Games

“The Open App Markets Act is proof that Congress is serious about finally reining in many of Big Tech’s most anti-competitive practices. The U.S. tech sector has consolidated around a few large gatekeepers not because their products are inherently better but because they use their power to lock consumers in while keeping competition out. If passed into law, the Open App Markets Act would let developers do business freely rather than be suffocated by a litany of abusive terms imposed on them by Big Tech. It is no surprise that this bill has support across the political spectrum and throughout the startup community, and its passage would ensure greater innovation in the market as well as more choice for consumers. The job is not done, but Washington has taken a crucial step toward unleashing the next great tech breakthrough, and we implore legislators to consider this bill on the full Senate floor.” – Andy Yen, Founder & CEO, Proton

“The Open App Markets Act (OAMA) is an important step in ending Apple and Google’s anticompetitive practices – helping ensure a competitive, fair digital marketplace that will benefit both consumers and developers while spurring new investments and innovation. The nearly unanimous vote demonstrates how important this legislation is to ending monopoly control of the app distribution marketplace. We thank Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley for their steadfast support, as well as Senators Blumenthal, Blackburn and Klobuchar for their leadership on this important issue.”  Match Group

“Today is another victory for bipartisanship and the small businesses and consumers who have been hurt by Google and Apple’s unfair duopoly in the app marketplace. After another round of personal appeals from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and hundreds of millions in lobbying and TV spending, Big Tech’s monopolistic grip is slipping in the face of grassroots action. Consumers deserve choice, and app developers deserve a level-playing field that allows the next big idea to breakthrough. Passing meaningful antitrust reform is the only way we can accomplish those goals, and we look forward to continuing to educate the public and work with members who are moving landmark antitrust legislation through Congress.– Sacha Haworth, Executive Director, Tech Oversight Project

“Just two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance bipartisan legislation that would ban Big Tech companies from unfairly prioritizing their own products and services on their platforms. And today, the committee voted to support bipartisan legislation that would ensure the app marketplace is freer, fairer, more competitive, and more accessible to small businesses. Big Tech is spending unfathomable sums of money to evade accountability and prevent real competition, but they are failing to stop the groundswell of grassroots and congressional support for these historic reforms. This bipartisan movement proves that no matter how much Big Tech lobbies behind closed doors, they will not succeed.” – Mike Davis, Founder & President, Internet Accountability Project

“The Open App Markets Act passed out of committee with a resounding bipartisan consensus because lawmakers on both sides of the aisle know we must confront Apple and Google’s dominance over the app economy. Big Tech has launched an all-out lobbying blitz to stop this bill. The full Senate must follow in the footsteps of the Judiciary Committee, stand up to Big Tech’s lobbyists, and pass this bipartisan bill to protect American entrepreneurs and consumers from monopoly power.” – Pat Garofalo, Director of State and Local Policy, American Economic Liberties Project

“The Digital Progress Institute is pleased to see the Open App Markets Act (OAMA) move forward through the legislative process. The OAMA represents a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to facilitating equity in the app economy. This Act would provide small-business developers with the appropriate leverage to challenge large app-store platforms’: often mercurial standards and forced taxes on their innovative products. The Digital Progress Institute welcomes the much-needed and bipartisan reform to the tech ecosystem.” – Joel Thayer, President, Digital Progress Institute

“It is great to see the Senate taking decisive action to address the app market duopoly. For too long, Apple and Google have rigged the game against app developers, undermining competition and consumer choice through unfair practices. And they have particularly harmed conservatives by colluding to de-platform free-speech apps such as Parler. The Open Apps Market Act will go a long way toward rectifying these wrongs, and based on today’s vote, it is clear there is a strong, bipartisan consensus behind it. We urge the Senate to pass this legislation as soon as possible so we can finally move forward substantively to rein in Big Tech.” – Jon Schweppe, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, American Principles Project

In the News:

Axios: App store bill sails out of Senate Judiciary Committee
“A bill that would upend how Apple and Google run their mobile app stores easily made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.” – “If the bill passes the full Senate and is signed by President Biden, Google and Apple would essentially have to give up full control of their app stores.” – “The 20-2 vote shows there’s increasing support in Congress for the kinds of bills that aim to reel in Big Tech companies.”

The Hill: Senate panel advances bill targeting Apple, Google app store power
“The Coalition for App Fairness, which represents companies including Spotify, Match Group and Tile, cheered the committee’s vote advancing the legislation. “The Open App Markets Act directly addresses app store providers’ anti-competitive policies that harm developers and consumers. The bill will create a more competitive app ecosystem, maximize choice for consumers, and give needed protection to app creators who are fearful of retaliation,” the coalition said in a statement.”

Washington Examiner: Bill cracking down on Google and Apple app stores advances in Senate
Nearly 90% of app developers favor legislation promoting a level playing field in the app marketplace, according to a recent survey by Coalition for App Fairness, a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair competition on app stores.”

Des Moines Register: Opinion: Support Iowa innovators through the Open App Markets Act
“The Open App Markets Act would allow small businesses like mine to operate without debilitating fee structures and reinstate our ability to communicate with our customers. This would be game-changing for small businesses like mine and digital entrepreneurs across our nation.” – “As an Iowa small business owner, I urge our entire congressional delegation to take a stand for development in Iowa. Empower us to succeed so we can reinvest in our hometowns. Support the Open App Markets Act to support innovation and Iowa technology progress.”


About the Coalition for App Fairness

The Coalition for App Fairness is an independent nonprofit organization formed to protect consumer choice, foster competition, and create a level playing field for all app and game developers globally. Originally formed by Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain.com, Deezer, Epic Games, the European Publishers Council, Match Group, News Media Europe, Prepear, Proton, Skydemon, Spotify, and Tile, CAF has rapidly grown from 13 to over 60 members since launching in September 2020. CAF offers membership to companies of any size — join today at appfairness.org.

CAF Contact

Rick VanMeter
[email protected]

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