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Epic, Spotify unite to push for mobile app store reforms

They're hoping a coalition will force Apple and Google to change their ways.

Published onSeptember 24, 2020

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Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Epic, Spotify, Match, Tile, and others have formed a Coalition for App Fairness.
  • The group hopes to push Apple, Google and others to reform their app store policies.
  • Whether or not they get their wish is another matter.

Epic Games and Spotify don’t want to rely solely on legal battles to push for reforms to app store policies. The companies have united with other major developers and groups to form the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), a group that will push for “enforcement and reforms” to foster competition and choice in app stores, including through government policy and legal actions.

The alliance includes app makers like dating giant Match Group, Deezer, Tile, and ProtonMail, as well as organizations like the European Publishers Council and News Media Europe.

The Coalition is primarily focused on Apple’s activity and claims that the company’s “onerous” approach to App Store policy has given its own software an “unfair advantage”  that blocks innovative companies and raises app prices for developers.  Members argue that companies like Apple exert monopoly behavior. “The basic freedoms of developers are under attack,” Epic chief Tim Sweeney claimed.

See also: Epic accuses Google of crushing Fortnite deals

To match, the group published a list of 10 “app store principles.” These include non-exclusive app distribution, equal levels of developer access and promotion, transparent store policy, and the ability to offer third-party app stores on a given platform. In other words, they’re designed to dismantle the App Store policies that led Epic, Spotify and others to make complaints.

There’s no certainty CAF will lead to tangible results. Apple and Google have been under pressure to change their approaches to app store policy for years, with little success. Congressional hearings and Epic’s battles over Fortnite have drawn more attention to the issue, however, and there hasn’t really been a unified effort on this scale. If nothing else, this could keep the spotlight on alleged app store abuses for longer.

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