by Ailan Evans
Google’s Chief Legal Officer and President of Global Affairs Kent Walker accused Microsoft on Friday of “carving out” an exception to a bill targeting app stores operated by Google and Apple.
The Open App Markets Act, introduced by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a near-unanimous vote Thursday. Microsoft president Brad Smith applauded the passage of the bill in tweet shortly after, writing that the legislation “would promote competition, and ensure fairness and innovation in the app economy.”
Walker responded to Smith’s tweet accusing the software company of “carving out” an exception in the legislation favoring Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console and service.
“Disappointing that Microsoft would lobby so hard for a law targeting its competitors, while carving out its own exception for Xbox, which requires its own billing system, doesn’t allow loading of other stores and actually charges higher fees to developers,” Walker wrote in response.
Disappointing that Microsoft would lobby so hard for a law targeting its competitors, while carving out its own exception for Xbox, which requires its own billing system, doesn’t allow loading of other stores and actually charges higher fees to developers. https://t.co/KUAuJ4G531
— Kent Walker (@Kent_Walker) February 4, 2022
The Open App Markets Act seeks to prevent app stores like Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store from requiring developers to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems as a condition of distribution. However, the bill only covers “users of a computer, a mobile device, or any other general purpose computing device” and does not explicitly apply to gaming consoles like Xbox.
Microsoft has been previously accused by its competitors, as well as lawmakers including Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee overseeing antitrust legislation, of influencing members of Congress to target Meta, Google, Apple and Amazon while exempting itself.
The House Judiciary Committee advanced several antitrust bills targeted at Big Tech in June that largely exempt Microsoft. The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported on a whistleblower document that appeared to show that Microsoft had helped write the antitrust bills.
Microsoft and Google did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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