Google, TikTok add protections for minors, app store bill proposes big changes, what’s new with Samsung

Week ending August 14, 2021

A new Senate bill could put an end to app stores’ dominance

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A bipartisan group of three U.S. senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — introduced a new piece of legislation called the Open Markets Act, could change the way mobile software is distributed. The bill would give developers the right to tell their customers about lower prices outside the app stores (without fear of punishment), and permit alternative payment mechanisms, sideloading, and third-party app stores where developers could avoid platform fees. It would also bar platform makers like Apple and Google from using non-public information they collect via app stores to build out competing products, or rank those products more favorably.

The bill is being applauded by Apple critics, including the Coalition for App Fairness and its members, Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and others, who are now urging Congress to swiftly pass the legislation to level the playing field.

As regulatory pressure on platform makers has intensified, the companies looked for ways to better cater to smaller developers with drops in commission rates, as well as increased privacy and security measures — the latter of which could help boost their arguments that the app store model is favorable to consumer interests.

Such a bill is a notable first step toward some sort of market changes, but it’s still too early to know if or when the bill will gain traction, much less be passed into law.

Tech giants Google, YouTube and TikTok follow Instagram with increased protections for minors

Google and YouTube (as well as TikTok) this week rolled out a series of changes to their products and services to increase the privacy and security of accounts belonging to teenaged users under the age of 18. The specific changes…

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