The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched a study on competition in mobile app ecosystems.
On behalf of the US Department of Commerce, NTIA is now requesting comments on competition in mobile app ecosystems. The study was triggered by a decree promoting competition in the US economy from July last year with the aim of making recommendations to improve competition, reduce barriers to entry and maximize user benefits. President Biden’s executive order explained:
The US information technology sector has long been an engine of innovation and growth, but today a small number of dominant Internet platforms use their power to exclude market participants, to exploit monopoly profits and to collect intimate personal information that they can exploit to their own advantage. Too many small businesses across the economy rely on these platforms and a few online marketplaces for their survival …
The formal request for comment shows in detail how iOS is likely to come under investigation as part of the study, with questions related to the benefits of developing a standalone app for a platform compared to webapps across platforms, how webapps should work on mobile platforms , the availability of other methods of app distribution and app page loading. Particular emphasis is placed on iOS ‘”unique barriers” that prevent users and developers from taking advantage of web apps, apps from alternative app stores, or side-loaded apps.
“The app economy is becoming a fundamental way for Americans to interact with their environment,” explains the request for comment, “so it’s crucial that this market is robust, open, innovative and secure – and without barriers to access and growth. . “
The federal registry is now open for comments from the public about competition in mobile app ecosystems. The information gathered as part of the survey will be used to inform President Biden’s competition agenda later this year.
Apple’s ecosystem is increasingly coming under intense scrutiny by governments around the world, including in the UK, Japan, South Korea, the EU and more, with a clear appetite from global regulators to explore app sideloading and interoperability requirements.
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