United States Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky have sent a formal letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing their concerns about the potential effects of the company’s App Store guidelines on emerging technologies like blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The lawmakers seek clarification on whether these guidelines inadvertently hinder the progress and growth of cutting-edge innovations.
Apple’s Approach and Impact on Crypto Apps:
In their letter, the lawmakers observed a pattern in Apple’s treatment of its App Store guidelines, where the company appears to capitalize on and limit the functionality of crypto apps. They highlighted Apple’s practice of mandating the release of “lite” versions of such apps, which generated profits for the company while diminishing the overall utility of the applications. The case of Axie Infinity’s App Store experience was specifically mentioned as an example.
Concerns for U.S. Standing in Emerging Technologies:
The letter expresses concerns about the potential negative consequences of Apple’s policies on the United States’ position in emerging technologies. The Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee’s chairman and ranking member noted that while Apple justifies these limitations as a means to enhance security with a “walled garden” approach, there are widespread concerns that the company might be using the App Store to suppress competition.
Transparency and Accountability:
The lawmakers stressed the need for Congress to fully understand the App Store guidelines and assess how they may impede innovation. They are committed to promoting transparency and holding Big Tech accountable for any monopolistic behavior. Their goal is to create a level playing field in the industry to foster American ingenuity and growth.
Similar Concerns Raised Previously:
Notably, this is not the first time the representatives have addressed Apple’s App Store policies. They previously raised concerns about guidelines related to apps originating from China, including TikTok.