Apple, Google App Store Duopoly Challenged by Senate

    • Apple and Google could see their duopoly among U.S. app stores upended by legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate.
    • The bill would block those companies from barring other app stores.

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As Apple fights for control of its app store in its legal battle with Epic Games, the company now faces pressure from U.S. lawmakers.

Bipartisan legislation proposed in the Senate would force Apple and Google to allow other app stores on their platforms. While Google allows Android users to download other app stores, Apple does not.

Apple and Google hold a true duopoly in the U.S. app store market.

  • In 2020, 59% of U.S.-based app downloads were in Apple’s App Store, and 41% originated in the Google Play store.
  • Apple’s Services segment, which includes its app store, brought in $17.5 billion in the second quarter.
  • Google’s Services segment earned $5.1 billion in Q2, excluding ads. In addition to the Google Play store, Services includes Android, Chrome, and hardware.
  • Both companies charge a 30% fee for app store and in-app purchases, with lower fees for smaller developers. 

In late August, South Korea passed a law barring app stores from prohibiting alternate payment systems — one of the core issues in Apple’s dispute with “Fortnite” maker Epic Games.

“Both Apple and Google have appeared to use their powerful gatekeeper control to stifle competition in the app store market,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal wrote, while introducing the legislation with Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Marsha Blackburn.

Other senators plan on signing on to the bill as cosponsors, per Bloomberg.