Senate proposes bill forbidding Apple and Google from forcing developers to use their...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,463   +1,034
Staff member
In a nutshell: Epic Games has been embroiled in an antitrust battle with Apple for a year over its tight control of developers making software for the App Store. Some of the very issues Epic is fighting for are at the heart of legislation that was just introduced in the US Congress.

On Wednesday, the US Senate introduced a bill called the Open App Markets Act. The proposed legislation looks to protect competition and harden consumer protections as they apply to the app market. Senator Richard Blumenthal's press release specifically called out Apple's and Google's dominant position in the mobile app sector.

"Two companies, Google and Apple, have gatekeeper control of the two dominant mobile operating systems and their app stores that allow them to exclusively dictate the terms of the app market, inhibiting competition and restricting consumer choice," reads the summary.

Backed by Blumenthal and colleagues Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the bipartisan bill includes a provision prohibiting app store owners from forcing developers to use their platform's payment system. This protection is a harsh blow to Apple and Google, which both require developers to use their payment systems within their apps. This issue is also at the core of the Epic v. Apple antitrust lawsuit.

The law would also prevent platform owners from restricting consumers from sideloading software onto their devices. Despite its generic language, this clause is almost certainly aimed at Apple as it is opposed to users downloading software off-platform.

Developers will also have the right to inform users of lower competitive pricing, which Apple forbids in its developer terms of service agreement. For example, according to Apple's ToS, developers are welcome to have an off-platform store. However, they cannot link to or promote that store within the iOS app. This prohibition was another of Epic's main arguments in its battle with Apple.

The Open App Markets Act still has a long road ahead of it. Since it is a Senate bill, it will be debated there and then sent to the House of Representatives for a vote. If the House approves it, it goes back to the Senate for another vote. The President will either sign or veto if the bill makes it through Congress. Meanwhile, lobbyists both for and against the proposal will try to sway lawmakers to their side. So it might still be quite some time before we see it passed, if at all.

Image credit: Lorie Shaull

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Posts: 4,086   +5,631
"For example, according to Apple's ToS, developers are welcome to have an off-platform store."

..which means nothing since Apple blocks side-loading by default. This measure is long overdue. While I'm personally a believer in a safe and well-managed storefront, its clear that Apple has blocked a ton of innovation and kept prices artificially high through their draconian app store policies. Google is in some ways the opposite: almost anything goes, even in their own store - spyware, ransomware, you name it - but they still demand a huge cut to do business throuigh the Play Store. Since Google does almost nothing to protect users from dangerous apps they don't have ANY argument against allowing third-party stores on Android devices.


Posts: 152   +168
Well it is the right thing to do, but lets be honest they will throw limitless money at this untill it goes away.

But it is nice that some are taking notice of this extremely sketchy practice.


Posts: 6,306   +7,245
If you can't use Apple Pay, don't develop on iOS.

This is between Apple and the developers.

Does my Government understand "Private Contracts" Law anymore?

The free market is ALWAYS right.


Posts: 3,107   +2,587
I've never had an issue side loading things on my Android phones. But, I don't buy carrier LOCKED phones either.
Sideloading on iOS/iPadOS!!!
Does this mean what I think it means? # Google Master? A Simple Yes or No will work. Just wanna make sure the IPhone is worthy and not a spoiled apple ( lol)! I loved my last X Android... but apparently the ringer quit working and IT just wanted to hang around in the background and Protect what it thought was his all along... his Sammie. Ya know, Samsung...Samsung & Android-they go hand in hand. Just wish I could see what you see. And btw... ur secret is safe if you'll share. I'd never have doubts again would I ? Those Doubts... boy I've paid a very high price over the past year haven't I? And that ain't counting the $$$$ quan I've put out on real phones...
Now show me whatcha got in real time. Please & thank you...


Posts: 582   +1,068
For starting this fight with Apple and Google and for UE5, I cannot not like Epic.

No corporation is our friend (consumers), but if I were to choose between them, I choose the lesser one, as of now - and as long as it remains the lesser one, of course, no blind fanboying here.


Posts: 40   +74
The free market is almost always wrong, as evidenced by the current state of the US.
The US has not had a free market for a hundred years. That is why the current state of the US is as messed up as it is. Regulation is merely politicians who don’t know what they are talking about making rules for businesses they themselves could not run without any understanding of the consequences of their rules. There is literally no good thing that a self righteous politician on a quest “to do good” cannot mess up.

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,691   +7,591
With the Dem's on a bit of a roll right now, I would be surprised if the bill does not get passed, particularly considering the anti-trust implications. Overall they need to completely remove the special protections granted to these large internet companies. They have obviously abused it and no longer deserve any form of protection. If they can't make money honestly, they don't deserve to be in business and there are plenty of companies more than willing to step in and take their place.


Posts: 13,141   +6,438
The US is NOT a free market - as evidenced by the state of this article.
Government staying out of it and not protecting its citizens is a lot of the problem. They have allowed corporate to grow bigger than they are. There is no free market because our government is allowing corporate to dictate what is being sold and how. Most of this stifling is through BS patenting.