US Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing concerns about the company’s App Store guidelines and their potential impact on emerging technologies.
Specifically, they pointed out how these guidelines may stifle the growth of technologies like distributed ledger technology and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The lawmakers highlighted their worries that Apple might be using its guidelines to profit from and reduce the utility of crypto apps by forcing the rollout of “lite” versions, citing Axie Infinity’s experience as an example.
They emphasized the need for transparency and a level playing field within the tech industry to foster American ingenuity and maintain leadership in emerging technologies.
In a previous letter, they had also addressed issues related to TikTok and other apps originating from China, reflecting their broader concerns about the impact of Apple’s policies on national security.
As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee, the representatives are committed to ensuring that big tech companies are held accountable for potential monopolistic behavior and its consequences on innovation in the United States.
Apple and crypto
The letter sent by the officials to Apple is not surprising since the tech firm has not been on good terms with the crypto industry.
For example, in September last year, it announced a 30% commission on all NFT-based transactions through iOS apps, causing discontent among NFT startups seeking to use iOS tools.
This caused many Web3 startups to opt for other platforms due to this decision, as the NFT market is already grappling with the crypto winter and high transaction fees.
Also last month, Apple said it was going to remove the Damus app from its store for violating guidelines by enabling users to send tips to content creators outside of Apple’s in-app purchase system.
Damus is a decentralized social media app launched in February 2023, built on the Nostr protocol, allowing users to own and control their data.
It offers unique features like anonymous posting, no user data tracking, and a built-in Bitcoin tipping function called “zaps,” utilizing the Lightning Network instead of Apple’s structure.
The letter written to Thomas also stated that “it is essential that Congress fully understand the App Store Guidelines and the extent to which these guidelines limit innovation and impact American technological leadership.”