WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said in a new report Wednesday that the current mobile app store model is harmful to consumers and developers, and recommended policy changes to fix it.
Mobile App Competition
Mobile apps have become an essential tool for participation in much of daily life. Given both the growing importance of mobile apps and the need to promote innovation in this space, President Biden called for a study of the ecosystem along with recommendations for improving competition, reducing barriers to entry and maximizing the benefits for consumers as part of a 2021 Executive Order on competition.
Apps on mobile devices are a part of daily life for many Americans. They allow us to talk with our friends, find a ride home, play games, or monitor our health. These applications on our mobile phones and tablets can help small business owners reach new customers, and thousands of American entrepreneurs and innovators are working on apps that increase productivity, improve health care and make learning more fun.
That’s why mobile apps have become a significant part of our economy -- by one industry account, the app economy was valued at $1.7 trillion in 2020, employing more than 5.9 million Americans.
In his Executive Order on promoting competition, President Biden recognized America’s tech sector as an engine of innovation and growth, but he warned that dominant Internet platforms can “use their power to exclude market entrants, to extract monopoly profits, and to gather intimate personal information that they can exploit for their own advantage.”
With the goal of promoting a fair, open, and competitive marketplace, the Executive Order directed the Department of Commerce to conduct a study of the mobile app ecosystem, and to use an open and transparent process to hear from the many stakeholders in the app economy, including consumers, app developers, businesses, and nonprofits.