Over the past decade, the app market has exploded by more than tenfold. Today there are more than 8.5 million(!) different apps, with most of them operated on platforms or phones maintained by Apple and Google. If you have a cell phone, you’re probably accessing dozens of Apps every day for commerce, finance, health, education, or fun.
One of the most amazing things about Apps is that – much like the internet – most of them are free or nearly free to use. It is an industry that has provided massive benefits to consumers at little cost.
So naturally, Congress wants to regulate it – specifically Apple and Google for the sin of offering these services on their platforms, but choosing which Apps to offer. Progressive antitrust crusaders, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar are leading the charge. Shockingly, they’re getting help in this effort from otherwise dependable conservative Republican Senators.
If we believe in the free market and private property, then it seems clear that Google and Apple should have control over what apps run on their own devices and which don’t. After all, it is their platform – they did build it. Does Walmart have to place every t-shirt and book on their store shelves? Does Safeway have to carry every variety of cereal?
Who else should decide on how Apps are priced and operated? Politicians? Federal regulators? Let’s not forget that the digital age has progressed at warp speed in no small part because we have allowed the internet services to be pretty much a regulation-free island. That’s paid off in spades.
The surest way to impede and corrupt the app market would be to pass progressive legislation like the Open App Markets Act.