By Nathalie Voit

A majority of app developers support efforts to break up barriers to entry in the digital marketplace, according to the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF), a non-profit group advocating on behalf of the app developer community.

Over 8 in 10 app developers (84%) favor big tech antitrust legislation that would prohibit self-preferencing and anti-competitive practices from dominant app platforms like the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, CAF said.

The findings were based on an online survey conducted by ClearPath Strategies between December 2021 and January 2022. The group polled 190 app developers across eleven states to gauge their support for the Open App Markets Act (OAMA). This bipartisan Senate bill would prevent app stores from favoring their in-house apps in searches, forcing competitors to use their payment systems, and excluding third-party app stores in their platforms.

Just 13% of respondents opposed OAMA, the survey found.

“The evidence is clear – app developers want the Open App Markets Act to pass so that they can have the opportunity to compete in a fair digital marketplace,” said executive director of the Coalition for App Fairness Meghan DiMuzio in a statement.

“For too long, developers have been harmed by gatekeepers’ monopolistic practices, and consumers have suffered from less choice and innovation.”

Developers cited app marketplace requirements as the largest barrier to entry in the industry. Respondents said that dealing with app store requirements was listed as the most significant obstacle in getting apps to consumers, worse than meeting marketing and technical designs.

Developers also took aim at Apple’s 30% commission fee on every app transaction, noting that it made it harder for smaller companies and individual developers to compete fairly and stymied innovation and growth in the app development industry, CAF said.

Developers are confident OAMA would deliver more competition, entrepreneurship, and all-around broader industry growth by lowering barriers to entry, leveling the playing field, creating more jobs, and supporting small and new businesses.

“I would say it would increase revenues for smaller companies and individual developers, maybe not so much for larger companies… For smaller companies and definitely for individual developers, it would affect them a lot,” said Alok, a senior iOS developer from New York, according to the survey.

The findings arrive amid a historic push by Congress to promote antitrust legislation in the face of increasing consolidation and monopolization by large online platforms.

Two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 during a markup session to advance the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

If passed, the bill would constitute the most significant piece of antitrust legislation in over forty years, according to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), lead sponsor of the bill.