Today, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the “Open App Markets Act” to reduce gatekeeper power and realize the promise of true competition in the app economy. The bill would prohibit a host of anticompetitive conduct by app store operators and is in line with recommendations in Public Knowledge’s recent white paper, “Tending the Garden: How to Ensure That App Stores Put Users First.” Public Knowledge advocates to preserve the benefits of app stores while minimizing the downsides of the gatekeeper control they can involve.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:
“Mobile devices are more important than ever. These devices, and the apps that run on them, are the main way many people communicate, shop, get informed, and stay entertained. They can access some of our most personal and sensitive information, and users appreciate how their devices try to keep that information secure and to protect them from bad actors. Companies and organizations of all kinds also find it essential to reach users on their mobile devices on fair terms. At the same time, some of the same technologies and practices that are intended to protect users can also be used to harm competition. The Open App Markets Act addresses these harms and ensures fairness to users and developers without forcing compromises on security or privacy.
“Of course, to fully address the complex and fact-specific issues raised by digital platforms today, we still need a digital regulator that is able to tailor its solutions to specific problems and to balance the needs of competition, security, privacy, and user control. However, focused bills like this can still address real harms. Public Knowledge commends Sen. Blumenthal for his efforts to foster an app market that gives consumers more choice and lower prices without compromising on security.”
You may view our recent white paper, “Tending the Garden: How to Ensure that App Stores Put Users First,” to learn more about our recommendations to promote the public interest in the app store market.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.