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Blumenthal & Blackburn's Antitrust Legislation to Promote App Store Competition Advances to the Senate Floor

The Open App Markets Act would boost consumer choice & promote competition within the app market now controlled by Apple & Google

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statements following Senate Judiciary Committee’s overwhelming bipartisan passage of the Open App Markets Act. Blumenthal and Blackburn introduced the legislation in August to set fair, clear, and enforceable rules to protect competition and strengthen consumer protections within the app market currently dominated by Apple and Google.

“Breaking Apple and Google’s ironclad grip on the multi-billion dollar app market will stop their predatory fees on consumers and barriers to start ups and rivals,” said Blumenthal. “This bill will lower charges and spur innovation while preserving privacy and security. Despite self-interested opposition, our bipartisan success reflects the American public’s view that the online app market is exploited by monopolistic gatekeepers—and needs reform. I will continue to lead this strongly bipartisan effort with Senator Blackburn, Chair Durbin, and my colleagues, marking today another significant step toward full Senate consideration and signing of this important measure into law.”

“The passage of the Open App Markets Act out of the Senate Judiciary committee brings us one step closer to having this legislation signed into law,” said Blackburn. “This bill will let people download apps directly from outside companies rather than being forced to go through official app stores. In China, it will help citizens circumvent Beijing's strict internet censorship. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his leadership and work on this effort.” 

Two companies, Google and Apple, have gatekeeper control of the two dominant mobile operating systems and their app stores. Google and Apple’s dominance allows them to exclusively dictate the terms of the app market, inhibiting competition and restricting consumer choice. More information on the legislation is available here.

The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

The Open App Markets Act has also been endorsed by a number of technology and consumer groups, including Consumer Reports, Internet Accountability Project, Public Citizen, Coalition for App Fairness, Color Of Change, News Media Alliance, Public Knowledge, Lincoln Network, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE), Digital Progress Institute, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Principles Project, and the American Economic Liberties Project.

A recent survey of developers reveals strong support for legislation to prohibit anti-competitive and self-preferencing practices in the app marketplace, with nearly 90 percent of developers expressing they would support the Open App Markets Act. Earlier this week, noted cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Open App Markets Act’s security and privacy provisions.