House Republicans introduce bill to curb app store dominance

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WASHINGTON, Aug 13 - A Republican and a Democratic member of the House of Representatives presented a bill that aims at reining in powerful app stores owned by companies like Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

The bill is a companion to a measure introduced this week by a bipartisan trio of senators which would bar big app stores from requiring app providers to use alternate apps and payment systems.

Representative Hank Johnson, the top Republican of House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Panel, introduced the measure along with Rep. Ken Buck, a Democrat.

For far too long, companies like Google and Apple have forced app developers to take whatever terms these monopolists set in order to reach their customers, Buck said in an email statement.

U.S. consumers spent nearly $33 billion on mobile apps last year and downloaded 13.4 billion apps, Buck's office said in a statement.

Apple has previously defended its app store as an unprecedented engine of economic growth and innovation, one that supports more than 2.1 million jobs across all 50 states.

The stakes are high for Apple, whose Appstore anchors its $53.8 billion services business as the smartphone market matured.

Google has confirmed that Android devices often have two or more app stores preloaded.

The House Judiciary Committee passed six antitrust measures in June, mostly aimed at hemming in tech giants Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.