Apple continued its impassioned defense against a new crop of antitrust bills on Wednesday, advising lawmakers that the legislation’s recommendation that the company open itself up to third-party app stores would spell disaster for consumers by exposing them to unvetted scams and violating their privacy.
In a well-timed report published to its website titled “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps,” Apple carefully mounts the argument that to do away with the App Store — where apps “come from known developers who have agreed to follow our guidelines, and are securely distributed to users free from interference from third parties” — would simultaneously harm consumers, developers and the market writ large.
“We review every single app and each app update to evaluate whether they meet our high standards,” Apple wrote in the report. “This process, which we are constantly working to improve, is designed to protect our users by keeping malware, cybercriminals, and scammers out of the App Store.”
The App Store is currently a big sticking point for lawmakers, who contend that store’s very existence is anticompetitive. For reference, apps constitute a $142 billion market, and some estimates have Apple’s App Store benefiting from operating margins that amount to nearly 78%.
In the rough text of one of the six antitrust bills currently being proposed, lawmakers claim that it should be “...unlawful for a person operating a covered platform, in or affecting commerce, to restrict or impede the capacity of a business user to access or interoperate with the same platform, operating system, hardware and software features that are available to the covered platform operator’s own products, services, or lines of business.”
Apple, in a letter to lawmakers, said it was “concerned that current proposals would harm consumer privacy, device security, and innovation. We urge the Committee not to approve the proposed legislation in its current form, and we look forward to engaging with the Committee going forward.”