Apple’s App Store on iOS and Google’s Play Store on Android dominate the mobile app market. Sure, there are third-party marketplaces but most people on iPhone use the App Store and most on Android use the Play Store. However, the Biden Administration in the US wants to make changes to this model.
According to a report from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, “the current mobile app store model is harmful to consumers and developers.”
The agency argues that mobile consumers have limited choices as most feel locked to the official stores on Apple and Google platforms. Furthermore, app developers are also forced into these ecosystems because their apps will not sell on other stores. As such, developers are often limited by the strict rules of the App Store and Play Store.
In the report, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration seeks for consumers to be given alternatives for downloading apps. Furthermore, it asks for it to be possible for users to hide and/or delete pre-installed apps.
The administration says both Apple and Google must accept sideloading of apps, which is already possible to some extent on Android. To achieve this, the agency is asking for “new legislation and additional antitrust enforcement actions are likely necessary to boost competition in the app ecosystem.”
It is unclear if lawmakers will take these recommendations and seek changes by forcing Apple and Google to transform their models. Neither Google nor Apple has yet provided any official statement regarding the report.
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