Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky, United States Representatives, composed an official letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The letter focuses on the current rules of App Store.
The letter raises concerns regarding the impact of Apple’s App Store guidelines on emerging technologies, such as blockchain and NFTs. They asked for information regarding whether the App Store’s guidelines could unintentionally impede the advancement and expansion of pioneering innovations.
Apple’s Policies Are Hindering Tech Companies’ Services
The lawmakers noticed that Apple followed a consistent approach to the App Store guidelines. The company appeared to exploit and, at the same time, restrict the capabilities of crypto apps.
They highlighted how Apple accomplished this by requiring the release of “lite” versions. This action resulted in both generating profits for Apple and reducing the overall functionality of the apps.
Companies, like Coinbase and Axie Infinity, expressed discontent with Apple’s policies, with the representatives highlighting the issue. In response to Apple’s policies, Coinbase suspended NFT transfers for its iOS wallet users last year.
As for Axie Infinity, it had to adjust NFT functionalities on its iOS version to comply with Apple’s guidelines. This thereby restricted the game’s full experience for iOS users. The deadline for Apple’s response is August 14.
US Lawmakers Raise Their Concerns On Apple’s Policies
Bilirakis and Schakowsky, respectively, serve as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the bipartisan House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce. They proposed that Apple could use its App Store rules to gain an unfair competitive advantage.
Chairman Bilirakis and Ranking Member Schakowsky stated that:
“While Apple has argued these limitations increase security by creating a walled garden, many are concerned that Apple has used the app store as a weapon against competitors. It is essential that Congress fully understand the App Store Guidelines and the extent to which these guidelines limit innovation and impact American technological leadership … We want to create a level playing field within the industry so that American ingenuity can continue to thrive.”
The letter emphasizes a significant problem concerning Web3 games and app developers. These individuals extensively capitalize on cryptocurrency integrations and NFT sales to generate revenue.
The importance of having their apps on the App Store becomes evident due to the vast user base of iOS. However, Apple’s policy, which enforces a 30% commission on gas fees associated with NFT transactions, has caught the attention of lawmakers.
Bilirakis and Schakowsky intend to foster a fair, competitive environment across the industry. This move will enable the flourishing of American ingenuity. Before this, the representatives composed a comparable letter addressed to Apple concerning App Store policies concerning TikTok and other apps originating from China.