Last Thursday, the US Senate debated its own variant of the European Digital Markets Act, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) aims to curb the power of big tech platforms. These dominant tech platforms, such as Apple, Facebook and Google currently limit users’ free choice. They also work against fair competition. The bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican colleague Chuck Grassley.
The bill thus resembles the European Digital Market Act, or the Digital Markets Act in Dutch. This law was passed in Europe last December. The European Commission is currently in talks with the EU Member States to ensure proper implementation.
This does not mean that the AICOA will come into effect any time soon. At yesterday’s meeting, 107 amendments were tabled. 82 of these came from one senator. The bill will therefore first have to be amended and then discussed again by the Senate.
A coalition of smaller tech companies, including Patreon, Yelp and DuckDuckGo, is behind the proposed law. Apple and Google, on the other hand, say this legislation will be bad for users. The ability to download apps outside the app store would increase the risk of malware and undermine users’ privacy.
Open App Markets Act
Another regulation discussed was the Open App Markets Act. This bill was introduced in August by Democrat Richard Blumenthal. Although the proposal is older, the Senate has not yet debated it. Chairman Durbin does say: “It is a relatively new undertaking by this committee and one that is overdue”.
The Open App Markets Act only focuses on app stores. In short, the law means that companies are no longer allowed to do the following:
- App developers require to use the in-app payment system of the app store.
- The developers oblige their app to offer cheaper on their platform than elsewhere.
- Punish app developers for offering another payment system or offering their app through other channels.
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