CDT submitted comments in response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) request for input for its report on the state of competition in the mobile apps marketplace. Our comments state that competition is clearly in need of improvement, with just two platform ecosystems, Apple and Google, controlling the key delivery pipelines that connect app developers to app users. This creates potential for Apple and Google to use their control over access to their platforms to self-preference their own apps at the expense of independent app developers, and to exact higher payments from them than what would be the case if there were competition that offered developers and users other options – thus restricting consumer choice.
CDT’s comments emphasize that, because of the complex technology involved, antitrust enforcers and competition regulators need in-house technical expertise. It is needed to independently assess proposed remedies for addressing competition problems, to ensure that they do not impair a platform’s ability to protect security and privacy, and do not interfere with its ability to curtail posting of hate speech, disinformation, or other abusive content. And it is likewise needed to ensure that the platforms do not use these concerns as a pretext for anticompetitive purposes.