Representatives Gus Bilirakis, a member of the Republican Party from Florida, and Jan Schakowsky, affiliated with the Democratic Party and representing Illinois, came together in the United States Congress to address their concerns directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the company’s App Store guidelines and their impact on groundbreaking technologies such as blockchain and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
On July 28, they collaborated to compose a formal letter inquiring about how Apple’s App Store guidelines could potentially affect the advancement of emerging technologies like distributed ledger technology and NFTs. Their main objective with this letter was to investigate whether these guidelines might unintentionally impede the progress and growth of cutting-edge innovations in the tech world.
The legislators observed a noteworthy pattern in Apple’s approach to its App Store guidelines, wherein the company seemingly capitalized on and simultaneously limited the functionality of crypto apps. They pointed out that Apple achieved this by mandating the release of “lite” versions, which had the effect of both generating profits for Apple and diminishing the overall utility of these applications. As evidence, they specifically mentioned the case of Axie Infinity’s App Store experience.
In sending the letter, the legislators conveyed their concerns about the possible adverse effects of Apple’s policies on the United States’ position in the world of emerging technologies. The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee shared their viewpoint, acknowledging that Apple has defended these restrictions as a way to bolster security with a “walled garden” approach. However, they emphasized that there is a prevailing worry that Apple might be leveraging the App Store as a tool to stifle competition rather than solely focusing on security measures.