Washington, D.C. – The American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement in response to the introduction of the Open App Markets Act, a new bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Amy Klobuchar that would rein in the power Apple and Google wield over digital app stores.
“We applaud Sen. Blumenthal and his co-sponsors for introducing this important measure to break the power of app store gatekeepers,” said Economic Liberties’ Director of State and Local Policy Pat Garofalo. “It’s an important step in the effort to rein in the power of Big Tech corporations and ensure access to markets for American entrepreneurs and innovators.”
As the House Antitrust Subcommittee explained in its seminal report last year, Apple and Google use their dominant positions in cell phone operating systems to force app developers to use their stores to reach customers. They collect fees as high as 30 percent from all digital transactions in those stores, and prevent app developers from communicating to their own customers that cheaper options are available at the developers’ own website. Apple also prevents consumers from downloading alternative app stores, controlling what they do with their own devices.
“Dominant gatekeepers like Apple and Google are able to use their outsized power to extract enormous fees from small- and mid-sized businesses, with the ever-present threat of severing those businesses from their own customers,” added Garofalo. “The set of rights laid out in this bill – including payment systems freedom, protections from retaliation, and giving consumers the ability to access alternative app stores – are vital to creating fairer commerce online.”
Read Pat Garofalo and Matt Stoller’s New York Times op-ed on challenging the power of dominant app stores here.
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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.