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Congress wants to kick Apple and Google out of their stores

App store // GIF by Kate Walker

Congress wants to kick Apple and Google out of their stores


The Future. Another day, another attempt at curbing the outside profits of Apple’s and Google’s app stores. The Open App Markets Act seems to be the most radical of attempts, divorcing the companies from their app stores so that iOS and Android devices become open marketplaces. While the bill slowly works its way through Congress, both companies may continue to lower their store fees to turn down the heat.

Give up the keys
What’s one way to stop the drama around Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play Store? Take them away.

  • The bipartisan Open App Markets Act would force Apple and Google to give up control of their respective app stores.
  • It would also require their operating systems to allow “side-loading” — installing apps from third-party marketplaces.
  • And, it would force apps to accept alternative payment processing systems, which would effectively bypass the app stores’ 30% fee.

The bill is expected to win approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee. A version of the bill was also introduced in the House last summer.

No toll roads
While Apple and Google are (unsurprisingly) opposed to the bill, others praise it as a necessary step toward freedom on Apple and Android devices. The Coalition for App Fairness — which includes companies such as Spotify, Match Group, and Epic Games — would give customers a choice and allow apps to communicate directly with customers. Microsoft, which has a small app store, is also a supporter of the bill.

But that freedom comes with some potential downsides. Apple said that side-loading would open devices to malware, while Google said that the bill would distort competition by pretty much only exempting gaming companies from app store rules.