By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan trio of senators introduced a bill that would rein in app stores of companies they said exert too much market control, including Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, teamed up with Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn to sponsor the bill, which would bar big app stores 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.
“I found this predatory abuse of Apple and Google so deeply offensive on so many levels,” Blumenthal said in an interview on Wednesday. “Their power has reached a point where they are impacting the whole economy in stifling and strangling innovation.”
Blumenthal said he expected companion legislation to be introduced in the House of Representatives “very soon.”
The bill would also bar app stores from using non-public information about apps to compete with them.
Tile, which makes tags to help consumers find lost objects, complained earlier this year about Apple launching AirTags as a rival product.
Apple’s control over what apps enter its app platform and its commissions of 15% to 30% on digital sales have come under regulatory scrutiny. A federal judge is reviewing testimony on this issue to rule on an antitrust lawsuit brought by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games.
Epic also sued Google for its app store practices, as have a big group of state attorneys general alleging that it unlawfully worked to maintain a monopoly for its app store for Android phones.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Richard Chang)