US Senate panel to debate App Store reform bill

The Capitol building is seen in front of a snow-covered tree on the eve of the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

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WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate panel convened on Thursday to debate a bill aimed at curbing app stores from companies that some lawmakers say exert too much control over the market, including Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Alphabet Inc. Google (GOOGL.O).

US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn said on Monday that the Senate Judiciary Committee would consider the Open App Markets Act to be backed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

Blumenthal, a Democrat, said in a statement that the bill aims to “prevent Apple and Google from crushing their competitors and undermining consumers. Breaking these two juggernauts’ rock-solid hold on the app market several billion dollars is long overdue”.

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Blackburn, a Republican, said the hearing “brings us closer to accountability for big tech companies like Apple and Google.”

“Tech giants are forcing their own app stores on users at the expense of innovative start-ups,” she said.

Google and Apple did not immediately comment on Monday.

Apple earlier said its app store was “an unprecedented engine of economic growth and innovation, now supporting more than 2.1 million jobs in all 50 states.”

Google has previously said that Android devices often come preloaded with two or more app stores, and app sellers can allow downloads without using Google’s Play Store.

Lawmakers said the bill would prevent major app stores from requiring app providers to use their payment system and prohibit them from punishing apps that offer different prices or terms through another app store. apps or another payment system.

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Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Robert Birsel

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