back to article US Senate to vote on stopping Big Tech extracting 'monopolist rent' from app developers

The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to pass the Open App Markets Act, despite intense lobbying from Apple and Google. The bill, S.2710 [PDF], limits the kinds of restrictions major app platforms can impose on competitors, developers, and customers, will now be considered by a full Senate vote. If approved, …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge

    If this bill forces them to allow us to distribute outside of app stores, can it also ban the requirement of Apple's provisioning profile (effectively DRM), similar to the Windows RT / Windows 8.0 developer license?

    This would be good. As a developer, I might engage with these platforms more in that case.

    1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Almost certainly.

      If the app store owners can no longer force you to use *only* their store, you are then free to use other stores. Those other stores will invariably compete on price, features, services, requirements, etc to differentiate themselves to the original store.

      This leaves you free to shop around for the best deal to your app, letting your "vote with my wallet" capability declare rather loudly to the original store that their monopolistic practices will no longer be tolerated.

      *Hands you a pint*

      Cheers & happy coding! =-)

  2. VicMortimer
    Flame

    About F-ing time!

    I like my iPhone. I HATE Apple's monopoly on software distribution and installation for it.

    And without the ability to install software of the user's choice, the iPad will NEVER be a real computer, it's doomed to be a toy.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aim high

    I'd much rather see new OS competitors. So for example, I'd rather see Apple and Samsung hardware be required to "open" their hardware to allow multi-OS loading. That could finally open some new horizons in privacy which would really make a difference.

    This proposed law will remove any incentive breaking open the hardware syndicate, and remove incentive for developing alternative OS. Apple will become another Android, or maybe they will actually adopt Android and the Google browser, as they won't have the income to keep up alternative development.

    In short this approach is a lazy approach to competing with Apple and Google and the final result after many years could well be a muddle. Be careful what you wish for.

    IMSO it's not the "Store", it's the "OS" which should be the goal.

    ^

    | = Stupid. I make lots of mistakes. But very occasionally I'm spot on target.

    1. Long John Silver
      Pirate

      Re: Aim high

      I agree.

      Quoting from the article -

      ... for making third-party apps act in place of default apps, and for hiding or deleting pre-installed default apps.

      That statement is but a step away from a requirement for mobile device manufacturers to make "rooting" and installation of an alternative OS hassle free.

      Purchasers of desktop and laptop PCs can install a different OS with relative ease. Some vendors offer option of pre-installed open source software (e.g. a Linux flavour) or no pre-installation (disk formatting etc.) of any OS. If one doesn't want MS Windows one need not pay for it only to discard it later.

      The mass market for mobile phones, other Android devices, and conventional PCs, is likely to continue to demand pre-installed software. However, individuals purchasing them must have choice of installing alternatives to the proprietary software and this unimpeded by unnecessary obstacles.

      A related issue is demand in the USA from farmers to be permitted to access the OS of, say, tractors in order to facilitate maintenance and repair. At present they are locked out by law. Only "approved" agents may access the OS.

      The Android OS, that is proprietary variants, has become a tacky medium for pushing advertisements, product sales, and related commercial surveillance. Irritatingly it has insinuated itself on smart TVs and finding workarounds is tricky.

    2. esque

      Re: Aim high

      "Apple will become another Android, or maybe they will actually adopt Android and the Google browser, as they won't have the income to keep up alternative development."

      What? Do you have any idea how much money Apple makes by selling iPhones and iPads? Those pay for the development of the OS and stock applications several times over.

      The 30% store tax is Apple double-dipping is Apple living their best robber baron life.

    3. Lunatic Looking For Asylum
      Pint

      Re: Aim high

      Have one of these ---->

      If it was open hardware we'd be a lot better off. We can probably blame IBM for the mess we're in with phones. If they hadn't made their PC so bloody open that everybody copied it the phone companies wouldn't be so cautious about their proprietories* ...

      *I know it's not a real word but it should be :-)

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Their claims about risks to privacy and security are both false and disingenuous, and motivated by their own self-interest and not the public interest.

    Someone had to point this obvious fact.

    It opens the door to a whole new market, app portals.There will be good and bad ones, but in the end, the consumer will take advantage of it.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The Chamber of Progress

    A lobby group blatantly created for Big Tech interests. How these people manage to look themselves in the mirror in the morning is beyond me. No doubt a large infusion of cash is putting their conscience to sleep (supposing they ever had one).

    I'm sure they will soon start bleating think of the children as a last resort.

    But it is nice to see that the media is now putting pressure where it hurts : $100 million to operate, $15 billion in revenue.

    There is no sane person in the world who can think that that is normal.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: The Chamber of Progress

      I am thinking of the children.

      Wouldn't it be lovely if I could disable the Apple or Google App Store entirely, and replace it with a curated, child-friendly App Store that only contains apps that meet my specific requirements on what my child should be able to access?

      No in-app purchases, only from my specific locale (so it teaches the right English), only these general themes etc.

      When they get a bit older, maybe enable specific types of purchases with a pre-defined (but not prepaid!) budget, so they start to learn about electronic transactions.

      Currently the Amazon "Kids+" thing is the nearest there is to that, and it sucks because there's no competition whatsoever.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Chamber of Progress?

    Why I am getting inklings of 1984's Ministries of Truth, Peace, Plenty, and Love...

    Double plus good Doublespeak, yeah?

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Pint

    Thank you Bruce...

    We owe you a beer for making this point so publicly and succinctly...

    "It’s simply not true that this legislation puts user privacy and security at risk. In fact, it’s fairer to say that this legislation puts those companies’ extractive business-models at risk. Their claims about risks to privacy and security are both false and disingenuous, and motivated by their own self-interest and not the public interest."

  8. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Sloppy

    > "It poses a serious threat to content moderation – eliminating Apple’s ability to stop the spread of apps that promote misinformation and hate speech."

    He forgot to mention child abuse and terrorism!

    He should be more inclusive... :-p

  9. msobkow Silver badge

    So, I guess the question is how much of government "big tech" has already bought and paid for...

  10. Jonjonz

    Nice to see more people are finally grokking that the crime here is not the 30% sale price take, but the vig, owing Apple 30% of every microtransaction made via the app for perpetuity.

    The issues are clear with Apple, with Google, it is really android that is the problem and OS issues are too complex for the average lawmaker to grasp.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Mushroom

      I guess this will really put a stake through the Fortnight/Apple law suits.

      The (hopefully) near-future state of that legal wrangling --->

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