US lawmakers not impressed with Apple App Store changes, pressing on with bill

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2021
Apple's recent App Store concessions have seemingly failed to appease U.S. lawmakers, who are still moving ahead with legislation to change how the app marketplace is run.

Credit: WikiMedia Commons
Credit: WikiMedia Commons


Back in August, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a bill to rein in the power of app store operators. Since then, Apple has settled a major developer lawsuit and has changed some App Store policies. On Wednesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar -- one of the bill's sponsors -- said that it's well past time for tech giants to "do the right thing."

"Though Apple has taken some small steps to respond to criticism of its anti-competitive conduct, they did not go nearly far enough," Klobuchar told Bloomberg. "There is growing momentum to pass the Open App Markets Act to finally address Apple and Google's twin monopolies, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it done."

The Open App Markets Act, which is also being sponged by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn, would place a variety of restrictions on major app marketplaces.

For example, the bill would bar companies from requiring developers to use first-party payment platforms. It would also prohibit punishing apps that use different pricing structures and bans app stores from leveraging non-public information to compete with smaller developers.

A few days after the Open App Markets Act was introduced in the Senate, a companion bill was also put forth in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Bloomberg, recent developments in countries like South Korea is building momentum for U.S. legislators to make their own changes. On Aug. 31, South Korea passed new regulations requiring Apple and Google to accept alternate payments in their respective app stores.

More senators are planning to sign onto the Open App Markets Act as co-sponsors, Bloomberg reported. The next step for the legislation is for it to get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Apple has made other concessions in recent months as well, including allowing so-called "reader apps" to direct users to their own websites for payments. That specific guideline change came in response to a probe by Japan's Fair Trade Commission.

Lobbying groups backed by both Apple and Google have also ramped up efforts to argue against the proposed legislation.

Apple and U.S. lawmakers are also awaiting the decision of U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is presiding over the Epic Games v. Apple trial. Her ruling could mandate changes to the App Store, and she has signaled that her decision won't please either side of the legal battle.

Beyond Japan and South Korea, Apple is also under investigation by regulators and antitrust authorities in both Europe and the U.S. The Justice Department, for example, is continuing with its probe of Apple's App Store.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,357member
    Apple has made such very minor adjustments, and so begrudgingly, that a far more impactful change is going to get mandated by legislators and courtrooms. It is now unavoidable IMO. Neither Apple nor Google shows any serious interest in doing so on their own, nor would they be expected to with a cash cow in the barn.
    edited September 2021 neoncatxyzzy-xxxmuthuk_vanalingamelijahgdarkvaderindieshack
  • Reply 2 of 27
    I am starting to believe that in the most cases the government only makes the situation worse. This is one of those situations. With “twin monopolies” - LOL, they have even coined a new term just to make their absurd case which hurts free market.
    foadlongpathmagman1979fotoformatpatchythepirateaderutterigorskywatto_cobraKTR
  • Reply 3 of 27
    urahara said:
    I am starting to believe that in the most cases the government only makes the situation worse. This is one of those situations. With “twin monopolies” - LOL, they have even coined a new term just to make their absurd case which hurts free market.
    The US House of Representatives has a lower level of individual representation of its alleged constituents than any other comparable body in any other industrialized democracy, whether direct or limited, and has been so since 1929. This is nothing more than asserting power in order to grow power. By definition, a twin anything is not a monopoly. This isn’t the first time politicians have fabricated terms in order to frighten the ignorant and justify their violation of the takings clause. It won’t be the last.
    magman1979williamlondonthtfotoformatbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 27
    Users should be able to load apps from alternative App Stores.
    I guess that most users will stay with Apple's App Store, but it would make possible to use apps that have been banned by Apple or don't comply with some terms (like emulation).
    If Apple makes this right (apps signed with a certificate and sandboxed) it should also be secure (beside from bugs in the sandbox).
    elijahgdarkvaderindieshack
  • Reply 5 of 27
    At this stage it's in Apple's interest for changes to come about via legislation, and it's a situation that bears some similarity to Apple's tax arrangements.

    Apple could make changes to the App store (or their tax arrangements) - however both would certainly be sub-optimal for shareholder value. There are numerous consequences to making such changes if not specifically required to by law.

    Secondly Apple shouldn't jump the gun - it's clear that there are political motivations at play: it's unlikely that a politician looking for "a win" is going to reverse course no matter what changes Apple introduces - frankly that's just politics, hence statements along the lines of "it's well past time for tech giants to do the right thing."

    Also worth keeping in mind here is that there's no consumer groundswell asking for these changes: Apple's devices and ecosystem have enviously high consumer satisfaction.
    Meanwhile there are plenty of competitor companies lobbying for the changes to accelerate their own profits.
    edited September 2021 applguyaderutterbaconstangindieshackwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 27
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has made such very minor adjustments, and so begrudgingly, that a far more impactful change is going to get mandated by legislators and courtrooms. It is now unavoidable IMO. Neither Apple nor Google shows any serious interest in doing so on their own, nor would they be expected to with a cash cow in the barn.
    Apple's "least effort possible" moves are so blindingly transparent, too, that they've made it easy for on-the-fence politicos to climb aboard the grandstand. Real amateur hour effort on Apple's part. They've made sure to keep their cash cows—game IAPs—firmly in their control. The same IAPs that are only escapable if you (surprise!) send Apple more money for their sad little game service. 

    Profit, profit, profit. When you only see one goal in everything you do, you become blind to what others will take away from you.
    muthuk_vanalingamelijahgindieshack
  • Reply 7 of 27
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,273member
    I guess all that “aggressive lobbying” didn’t work. 
  • Reply 8 of 27
    Let’s see a show of hands—how many would like to see a change in the way the App Store is run vs. how many would like to see a change in the way congress is run. 

    And which would make a bigger and more positive impact?
    FileMakerFellerigorskywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 27
    Let’s see a show of hands—how many would like to see a change in the way the App Store is run vs. how many would like to see a change in the way congress is run. 

    And which would make a bigger and more positive impact?
    I'll take your bait. Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the entire App Store paradigm burned to the ground, and then burned again. But this reflects my own preferences. I am not so strident that I can't see how the structure, as it exists, serves a certain class of user quite well. 
    darkvaderelijahgpscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 27
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Users should be able to load apps from alternative App Stores.
    I guess that most users will stay with Apple's App Store, but it would make possible to use apps that have been banned by Apple or don't comply with some terms (like emulation).
    If Apple makes this right (apps signed with a certificate and sandboxed) it should also be secure (beside from bugs in the sandbox).
    They can load apps via web browsers. Why should Apple provide extended development and continued investment into an App Platform that they no longer own or profit from. They won’t. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,357member
    genovelle said:
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Users should be able to load apps from alternative App Stores.
    I guess that most users will stay with Apple's App Store, but it would make possible to use apps that have been banned by Apple or don't comply with some terms (like emulation).
    If Apple makes this right (apps signed with a certificate and sandboxed) it should also be secure (beside from bugs in the sandbox).
    They can load apps via web browsers. Why should Apple provide extended development and continued investment into an App Platform that they no longer own or profit from. They won’t. 
    They will. Not because they want to but because not doing so will be more costly than "following the law in every county where they do business".  
    darkvadermuthuk_vanalingambeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 12 of 27
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,380member
    Reagan said it best:
    "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help."

    Elected officials have WAY too much free time.  Leave America's homegrown business success stories alone!  Stop making new laws and start dismantling the unneeded old ones.  Reducing the size and scope of government is the only path to a free people.  This isn't anarchy.  It's common sense in any land that calls itself "free."
    watto_cobraKTR
  • Reply 13 of 27
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    neoncat said:
    Let’s see a show of hands—how many would like to see a change in the way the App Store is run vs. how many would like to see a change in the way congress is run. 

    And which would make a bigger and more positive impact?
    I'll take your bait. Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the entire App Store paradigm burned to the ground, and then burned again. But this reflects my own preferences. I am not so strident that I can't see how the structure, as it exists, serves a certain class of user quite well. 
    The App Store paradigm is your company spends billions developing a store to offer safe goods of a certain quality. You set a fair price and allow others to profit off your creation. Greedy developers who want all the profits for themselves complain and even get government stooges to demand you give them your profit while continuing to invest in the platform. 

    Your options are continue at a loss or shutdown development and invest those funds into a new venture with profit potential. The only loosers here will be the 99% of developers who this model as worked well for and real Apple supporters. Apple will cut bait just like they did with Newton and more recently IPod. Even though fans will want a continuance, a lack of profitability will determine its fate. 

    At this point, the App Store as you know it is doomed. Not because there will be many ways to buy apps. More likely, there will only be ways to buy web apps but because Native 3rd party apps will go away and hundreds of thousands of developers will be unemployed over night. 
    edited September 2021 MacProigorskypscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,357member
    genovelle said:
    neoncat said:
    Let’s see a show of hands—how many would like to see a change in the way the App Store is run vs. how many would like to see a change in the way congress is run. 

    And which would make a bigger and more positive impact?
    I'll take your bait. Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the entire App Store paradigm burned to the ground, and then burned again. But this reflects my own preferences. I am not so strident that I can't see how the structure, as it exists, serves a certain class of user quite well. 
    The App Store paradigm is your company spends billions developing a store to offer safe goods of a certain quality. You set a fair price and allow others to profit off your creation. Greedy developers who want all the profits for themselves complain and even get government stooges to demand you give them your profit while continuing to invest in the platform. 

    Your options are continue at a loss or shutdown development and invest those funds into a new venture with profit potential. The only loosers here will be the 99% of developers who this model as worked well for and real Apple supporters. Apple will cut bait just like they did with Newton and more recently IPod. Even though fans will want a continuance, a lack of profitability will determine its fate. 

    At this point, the App Store as you know it is doomed. Not because there will be many ways to buy apps. More likely, there will only be ways to buy web apps but because Native 3rd party apps will go away and hundreds of thousands of developers will be unemployed over night. 
    You way underestimate the contributions from the AppStore to Apple's bottom line. It was recently estimated that as much as 20% of Apple's total profit is coming from there. IMO the AppStore will not be going away. 
    elijahgdarkvadermuthuk_vanalingampscooter63
  • Reply 15 of 27
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,781member
    genovelle said:
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Users should be able to load apps from alternative App Stores.
    I guess that most users will stay with Apple's App Store, but it would make possible to use apps that have been banned by Apple or don't comply with some terms (like emulation).
    If Apple makes this right (apps signed with a certificate and sandboxed) it should also be secure (beside from bugs in the sandbox).
    They can load apps via web browsers. Why should Apple provide extended development and continued investment into an App Platform that they no longer own or profit from. They won’t. 
    They continue to invest in macOS without the Mac App Store being a revenue source of any relevance.
    darkvaderFileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 27
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,781member
    genovelle said:
    neoncat said:
    Let’s see a show of hands—how many would like to see a change in the way the App Store is run vs. how many would like to see a change in the way congress is run. 

    And which would make a bigger and more positive impact?
    I'll take your bait. Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the entire App Store paradigm burned to the ground, and then burned again. But this reflects my own preferences. I am not so strident that I can't see how the structure, as it exists, serves a certain class of user quite well. 
    The App Store paradigm is your company spends billions developing a store to offer safe goods of a certain quality. You set a fair price and allow others to profit off your creation. Greedy developers who want all the profits for themselves complain and even get government stooges to demand you give them your profit while continuing to invest in the platform. 

    Your options are continue at a loss or shutdown development and invest those funds into a new venture with profit potential. The only loosers here will be the 99% of developers who this model as worked well for and real Apple supporters. Apple will cut bait just like they did with Newton and more recently IPod. Even though fans will want a continuance, a lack of profitability will determine its fate. 

    At this point, the App Store as you know it is doomed. Not because there will be many ways to buy apps. More likely, there will only be ways to buy web apps but because Native 3rd party apps will go away and hundreds of thousands of developers will be unemployed over night. 
    You realise if it wasn't for "greedy developers" the iPhone wouldn't be anywhere near as popular as it is today? It wouldn't be making Apple the vast sums it is now, and Android would be 99% of the market.
    edited September 2021 darkvadermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Apple could make changes to the App store (or their tax arrangements) - however both would certainly be sub-optimal for shareholder value. There are numerous consequences to making such changes if not specifically required to by law.
    What "numerous consequences" are there?
  • Reply 18 of 27
    hexclock said:
    I guess all that “aggressive lobbying” didn’t work. 
    Hahahahaha, now they are probably thinking!!! Where did all our political contributions go? On next election cycles Apple may know what to do. Good Luck hahaha
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 27
    KTRKTR Posts: 280member
    urahara said:
    I am starting to believe that in the most cases the government only makes the situation worse. This is one of those situations. With “twin monopolies” - LOL, they have even coined a new term just to make their absurd case which hurts free market.
    I personally believe  that both companies will start charging for future mobile os releases, if they start loosing revenue. right now its free. If that happens, developers, and even the government will have pay.  And, consumers will have to pay also.  It would not surprise me if they lawyers are hard at work looking for loopholes.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 27
    elijahg said:
    genovelle said:
    neoncat said:
    Let’s see a show of hands—how many would like to see a change in the way the App Store is run vs. how many would like to see a change in the way congress is run. 

    And which’s would make a bigger and more positive impact?
    I'll take your bait. Speaking only for myself, I'd be happy to see the entire App Store paradigm burned to the ground, and then burned again. But this reflects my own preferences. I am not so strident that I can't see how the structure, as it exists, serves a certain class of user quite well. 
    The App Store paradigm is your company spends billions developing a store to offer safe goods of a certain quality. You set a fair price and allow others to profit off your creation. Greedy developers who want all the profits for themselves complain and even get government stooges to demand you give them your profit while continuing to invest in the platform. 

    Your options are continue at a loss or shutdown development and invest those funds into a new venture with profit potential. The only loosers here will be the 99% of developers who this model as worked well for and real Apple supporters. Apple will cut bait just like they did with Newton and more recently IPod. Even though fans will want a continuance, a lack of profitability will determine its fate. 

    At this point, the App Store as you know it is doomed. Not because there will be many ways to buy apps. More likely, there will only be ways to buy web apps but because Native 3rd party apps will go away and hundreds of thousands of developers will be unemployed over night. 
    You realise if it wasn't for "greedy developers" the iPhone wouldn't be anywhere near as popular as it is today? It wouldn't be making Apple the vast sums it is now, and Android would be 99% of the market.

    And you realize that most developers never would have had a chance to make the money they made if it wasn’t for the system Apple set up.  How many developers could have set up a distribution and payment system if Apple haven’t done it for them.   How many developers came out of nowhere to create great apps simply because they could afford $99.00 which gave them access to Apple’s entire ecosystem. How many users (not developers) have you heard complaining about the App Store?

    beowulfschmidtigorskywatto_cobra
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