Apple fails to sway lawmakers despite app store changes

U.S. lawmakers are bent on going ahead with legislation to change the way Apple Inc. runs its App Store.

The lawmakers seem unconvinced by the Apple’s recent moves to address antitrust complaints from developers and regulators around the world.

A proposed bill from a bipartisan trio of senators would force significant changes to the way consumers download and use apps on their iPhones and other Apple devices.

Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, head of the Senate antitrust subcommittee and one of the bill’s sponsors, said Congress is no longer willing to trust tech companies to “do the right thing.”

Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Store hold a duopoly on the mobile app market outside China.

Last year in the U.S., 59% of app downloads were on Apple’s App Store, and 41% were on Google Play, according to data from Sensor Tower, an app data company.

The Senate bill would require devices to host alternative app stores, allow consumers to make purchases using alternative payment systems, and give app developers access to all aspects of iPhone hardware, including components that previously remained exclusive to Apple’s apps and accessories.

Some of these changes would impact Apple more than Google, which allows Android users to download competing app stores.

Several global developments, including a similar law passed last month by South Korea’s National Assembly, have generated momentum for the U.S. to make its own changes.

Bipartisan support for the app store proposal means it has potential to gain traction, even though Congress has a full slate when lawmakers return to Washington this month.

More senators are planning to sign on as co-sponsors, according to two people familiar with the drafting of the bill.

The next step for the legislation, which has also been introduced in the House, is to get a hearing in the full Senate Judiciary Committee.


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