By Marcelino Quiñonez
Arizona House of Representatives, District 27
The apps that dot our mobile devices’ screens are critical links to information and commercial activity. But from the moment apps emerged on the scene, their availability and utility have been constrained by the two tech giants whose operating systems dominate the mobile device world – Apple and Google.
The current Congress, as it nears adjournment in Washington, has an opportunity to end those companies’ monopolistic practices and restore competitiveness to the app marketplace. Recent public opinion polls demonstrate that there is strong support among likely voters in the upcoming 2022 elections for enactment of that carefully crafted legislation, known as the Open App Markets Act.
For years, Google and Apple have made it essentially impossible for innovative app developers to create and make available to consumers new apps that meet demonstrated needs. The tech giants have created restrictive processes for app development (frequently citing bogus security concerns) and give preference to their own products in deciding who does, and does not, make an app available through either Apple’s App Store or its counterpart, the Google Play store.
The Open App Markets Act has garnered broad bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill with its language requiring a truly open and competitive marketplace. And now opinion research sponsored by the Coalition for App Fairness shows that a large majority of voters in key “swing” states – including Arizona – agree that it’s time to roll back anti-competitive practices regarding apps.
The battleground survey also covered Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Across that group of geographically, economically, and politically diverse jurisdictions, more than two-thirds of voters (69%) said the big tech companies have too much power over the app universe. Support for the Open App Markets Act among those surveyed was an astounding 79% — very impressive support for an antitrust measure. (Next door to us in California, a statewide survey also showed 69% of voters feeling Big Tech has too much power, with 75% backing the Open App Markets Act.)
Significantly, CAF’s polling was conducted by research firms traditionally associated with both Republican and Democratic political efforts.
The polls found that 59% of likely voters say Apple has too much power, while an even larger share – 67% — hold that opinion regarding Google. And 72% of those polled agreed with the statement, “Big Tech companies, like Apple and Google, limit competition and restrict innovation from independent app developers.”
Of particular interest to those currently in Congress standing for reelection here, 60% of likely Arizona voters said they would feel more favorable toward their members of Congress or Senator for supporting the Open App Markets Act.
Americans clearly love their mobile devices and the apps that make those devices essential tools for on-line activities. This recent sampling of public attitudes clearly indicates that the vast majority of us are also fed up with the restrictive and monopolistic activities of the technology behemoths and say it’s time to rein them in.