Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky have written a formal letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing their apprehensions about the potential impact of the company’s App Store guidelines on cutting-edge innovations like blockchain and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
The lawmakers seek information to determine if these guidelines inadvertently stifle progress and growth in the realm of emerging technologies.
Notably, the representatives highlighted a pattern in Apple’s approach to the App Store guidelines, wherein the company appears to both profit from and limit the functionality of crypto apps.
By mandating the release of “lite” versions, Apple’s actions generated profits for the company while diminishing the overall utility of the applications. The lawmakers cited the case of Axie Infinity’s App Store experience as an example.
Expressing concern about the potential negative consequences on the United States’ standing in the field of emerging technologies, the lawmakers underscored the need for Congress to fully comprehend the App Store guidelines and assess any hindrance to innovation.
Speaking about their concerns, they said:
“Our subcommittee remains committed to promoting full transparency and ensuring that Big Tech is held accountable for monopolistic behavior.”
While Apple has justified these limitations under the guise of enhancing security through a “walled garden” approach, there is widespread concern that the App Store may be wielded as a tool to stifle competition.
With a commitment to creating a level playing field within the industry, the lawmakers aim to nurture American ingenuity and ensure continued growth.
This letter follows a previous one the representatives had addressed to Apple, which pertained to App Store policies concerning apps originating from China, such as TikTok.