Washington – The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to markup Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackurn’s Open Apps Markets Act Thursday. The bill could block current app policies on everything from payments to user privacy and security for some platforms that offer apps. But then it would exempt other big companies and app platforms like Microsoft’s XBox, which restricts options for downloads and payments, from following similar regulations.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association published commentary on this subject and submitted a written statement to the Senate Judiciary expressing concerns about Congress’s approach to apps regulation.The current approach would favor some companies over others, while doing little to promote dynamic competition, innovation and more options for consumers.
In the statement to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, CCIA Vice President Arthur Sidney wrote that, “These ecosystems have offered customers access to [at least] 2 million aps, the overwhelming majority are free, and support [at least] 2.1 million U.S. jobs. Continuing to provide choices to developers and users fosters competition. Regulations mandating interoperability would require companies to give their intellectual property to others, potentially weaken user privacy, and would limit the covered companies incentive to innovate.“
CCIA has argued that competition among platforms, including open versus closed systems, allows consumers and app makers more options. The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:
“When a majority of apps are free, and apps earning less than $1 million in sales pay lower fees to platforms, constraints on how app stores recover the costs of maintaining safe, trustworthy, and useful ecosystems, will limit innovation and customer choices.
“One lesson from the last 50 years of competition policy is that regulations fail when aimed at specific companies, rather than specific behavior. The policies that have made the U.S. an innovation leader are non-sectoral rules of general applicability. U.S. policy sought to promote competition, not individual competitors. That’s why this bill is so controversial and many apps makers are fighting it.”