Japanese Tech Firms Support Bill to Regulate Apple and Google in Smartphone Software Market

In a rare move, seven Japanese organizations related to the information technology industry have issued a joint statement supporting a bill that would impose regulations on tech giants like Apple and Google in regards to smartphone software. The statement cites concerns that these companies prioritize their own profits and impose excessive fees, stifling competition in the market.

Japanese tech firms have historically been in a weaker position compared to their U.S. counterparts, making this joint criticism of Apple and Google all the more significant. The seven organizations comprise more than 550 companies including major tech firms, video game companies, and software developers that distribute apps.

The proposed law would require Apple to open its app marketplace to other companies and prohibit unfair and discriminatory treatment of app distributors. This move towards encouraging competition in the smartphone software sector has been welcomed by groups such as the Mobile Content Forum and the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association.

Apple and Google have historically faced scrutiny from regulators around the world over their control of app marketplaces. In 2019, Apple agreed to let developers of unique music apps link to outside payment options after being investigated by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission. Similarly, South Korean legislators recently passed a law requiring Apple and Google to allow app makers to use alternative payment methods.

If the bill in Japan is passed, it could have significant implications for the tech industry globally. Many smaller companies have criticized Apple and Google for taking a large commission on in-app purchases and stifling competition through their control of app marketplaces. This has led to various antitrust investigations and legal challenges.

In March, the European Union accused Apple of abusing its dominant position in the music streaming market, alleging that it was abusing competition rules to boost its own streaming service, Apple Music. Additionally, a lawsuit is currently underway in the U.S. that argues that Apple’s App Store violates antitrust laws.

The joint statement by Japanese tech organizations is part of a growing global push for greater regulation and competition in the tech industry. It remains to be seen whether the proposed bill will be passed into law and what impact this move towards greater competition in the smartphone software sector will have on the wider industry


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