Say No To App Store Bill, Apple Urges U.S Lawmakers

Smartphone maker Apple Inc (AAPL.O), which along with Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google is a target of an app store bill expected to be approved by a Senate panel, urged U.S. lawmakers Wednesday not to approve the measure in its current form.

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

“The Open App Markets Act includes measures that will hurt consumer welfare, competition, and innovation,” Apple said in a letter signed by Timothy Powderly, senior director of public affairs for Apple. The letter, a copy of which was viewed 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 has matured.

Apple argued that allowing people to load apps on 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 strongly recommend that this Committee amend the Open App Markets Act to remove any requirement that could be interpreted to require sideloading,” Apple wrote.

The biggest technology companies, including Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook (FB.O) and , have been under pressure in Congress over allegations they abused their outsized market power. A long list of bills is aimed at reining them in, but none have yet become law.