Apple urges lawmakers to say no to App Store bill

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Smartphone manufacturer Apple Inc, which together with Alphabet’s google is the target of app store invoice is expected to be approved by a Senate panel, U.S. lawmakers urged Wednesday not to approve the measure in its current form.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Thursday to approve the bill that would curb app stores managed by Apple and Google, preventing them from requiring app providers to use their payment system. It would also prohibit them from punishing apps that offer different prices or terms through another app store or payment system.

“The Open Application Markets Act includes measures that will harm consumer welfare, competition and innovation,” Apple said in a letter signed by Timothy Powderly, Apple’s senior director of public affairs. The letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, was dated Wednesday and sent to key members of the committee.

The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar, and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn.

The stakes are high for Apple, whose App Store anchors its $68.4 billion services business as the smartphone market matures.

Apple argued that allowing people to sideload apps onto their phones without using Apple’s App Store, a practice known as “sideloading,” would allow those app companies to avoid what the letter called Apple’s “pro-consumer privacy protections”.

“To ensure Apple’s ability to protect consumers through centralized app review and distribution, we urge this committee to amend the Open App Markets Act to remove any requirements that could be construed as requiring a sideloading,” Apple wrote.

The biggest tech companies, including Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook and Amazon.com, have come under pressure in Congress over allegations they abused their outsized market power. A long list of bills aims to contain them, but none has the force of law yet.

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