Bipartisan bill would force Apple to allow third-party app stores and sideloading on iOS
By José Adorno
August 11, 2021
As reported by CNBC, the Open App Markets Acts is led by senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The bill targets in-app payment systems for companies that own app stores with more than 50 million users in the US. According to the bill, Apple and Google wouldn’t be able to force the distribution of an app on their app stores or with their in app-payment system.
Apart from requiring third-party app stores, the bill would allow for apps to be sideloaded. The legislation does leave room for platforms to make the case that its in-app payment system is necessary for security purposes. The bill says that any platform covered by the legislation would not be in violation if an action is necessary for user privacy or security, a fraud prevention effort or a way to comply with federal or state law.
At the heart of the Epic complaint is they’d like developers to each put in their own payment information. But that would make the App Store a flea market and you know the confidence level you have at the flea market. The volume of people going into such a market would be dramatically lower, which would be bad for the user, because they would miss out on the innovation like we just heard with the four developers. And the developers would be left out because they wouldn’t have a huge audience to sell to. So nobody wins in that environment.