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US Senate Committee advances bill taking on Google, Apple app stores, here’s what happens next

As efforts to break up Big Tech gain momentum in the US, countries around the world are contemplating similar antitrust issues.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee on February 3 gave the go-ahead for the Open App Markets Act that will force Google and Apple to open up their app stores to alternative payment processing systems and allow app downloads from non-official sources. The bill still has to go for a full Senate vote, but the 21-2 bipartisan vote in the Senate Committee indicates growing support among US lawmakers for laws targeting Big Tech. Just last month, the same committee voted to pass another tech antitrust bill called the American Innovation and Competition Act, which accomplishes some of the same goals as the Open App Markets Act while targeting a wider set of anticompetitive practices and tech companies. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who co-sponsored the Open App Markets Act, said: "Breaking Apple and Google’s ironclad grip on the multi-billion dollar app market will stop their predatory fees on consumers and barriers to start ups and rivals. The Open App Markets Act will lower charges and spur innovation while preserving privacy and security. Despite self-interested opposition, our bipartisan success reflects the American public’s view that the online app market is exploited by monopolistic gatekeepers and needs reform." The US is not the only country going after app stores. The UK, EU, Russia, South Korea, and India are among many others looking into whether Google and Apple have a monopoly in the distribution of apps and in-app payment systems. What does the bill propose? The Open App Markets Act, which was first introduced in August last year, says:…

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