Biden admin says Google and Apple harm app store competition

Google Play Store home page on Android and Chrome OS
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A Biden Administration report details how competition is required in the app store space to benefit consumers.
  • The report targets Google and Apple as President Joe Biden deems them to be "gatekeepers" of the market.
  • Both companies may look to pushback again like in 2021 when the Open App Markets Act was first tried and failed to pass.

The Biden Administration has aimed some criticism toward two major app store operators that consumers majorly frequent.

A new report posted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) speaks on how the current app store model could be more harmful to consumers (via Axios). The Biden Administration is looking at both Google and Apple with this new report, stating both companies act as "gatekeepers over the apps that people and businesses rely on."

President Joe Biden wrote, "we need to bring more competition back to the tech sector" in his Wall Street Journal op-ed about the subject. And with that, the NTIA's report has narrowed its focus down to two key issues.

The first is that consumers cannot gain access to apps outside of the current app store model that Google and Apple enforce. Second, both companies produce hurdles for app developers, such as restricting how an app can function or a painfully slow review process. The Biden Administration is also concerned that Google and Apple's policies on their app stores could inflate prices and reduce innovation.

Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, stated, "It is more important than ever that the market for mobile apps remains competitive. NTIA's recommendations will make the app ecosystem more fair and innovative for everyone."

The report then lists possible solutions, stating consumers should have more control over their own apps, like deciding which should be the default on their device or the choice of using another app store. It's then suggested that app store operators should not display "self-preference" for their apps in an "anti-competitive manner." 

Restrictions should also be lifted on consumers to give freedom of downloading and installing whatever app they would like and, finally, address the limits on in-app purchasing options.

While the Biden Administration has come forth with its recommendations and another push for antitrust action on tech companies, it may be met with some pushback (again). An earlier movement for more competition in app stores, the Open App Markets Act, failed to pass back in 2021. Both Google and Apple argued that it would bring "harmful consequences" and that their app stores "benefit consumers" as it protects them from spam or even harmful applications on their phones.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.