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Apple is playing a dominant behind-the-scenes role in shaping the political positions of the App Association, which has positioned itself as the leading voice of thousands of app developers around the world, according to Bloomberg.
The group, known as ACT, gets more than half of its funding from Apple whilst the company is not a member of the association.
ACT representatives regularly testify in the U.S. Congress and file lawsuits to defend Apple's position. Moreover, ACT's lobbying program is closely aligned with Apple's interests, with its executive director being Chelsea Thomas, a former Apple lobbyist who was part of the government relations team.
The association raises questions for many developers. They oppose the fees and restrictions that Apple believes it needs to vet systems to keep users safe. To fight the monopoly, the Open App Markets Act is being promoted in Congress. However, ACT opposes the bill, arguing that it would threaten the privacy and security of the App Store, echoing Apple's talking points against the bill.
In June, Tim Sweeney, chief executive of Epic Games Inc, called the association “Apple’s fake ‘small app developer’ lobby.” Epic Games, a member of the Coalition for App Fairness last year lost an antitrust case against Apple related to the App Store, but won several unfair competition lawsuits. ACT backed Apple in the case.
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