“The outpouring of interest we’ve received has exceeded our expectations,” Sarah Maxwell, a spokeswoman for the coalition, said in an emailed statement. “As we bring on new members and hear their stories, it’s evident that too many developers have been unable to make their voices heard.”
The soaring membership of the coalition represents a remarkable shift in thinking, as companies and individual developers take the risky step of speaking out in an effort to change the way Apple operates. Many developers and smaller companies are dependent on Apple for their livelihood and don’t have the resources to cope if Apple removes their app or prohibits them from updating it. Some of Apple’s peers have also stepped up to advocate for changes to the App Store. Earlier this month, Microsoft expressed support for the coalition when it announced guidelines for its Microsoft Store, based on the coalition’s recommendations. And Facebook publicly criticized Apple for changes that will make it more difficult for companies to advertise in iPhone and iPad apps. It comes as the big technology companies have come under increasing scrutiny.
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee released a scathing, 450-page report that criticized Apple and other big technology companies for allegedly using their power to quash competition and stifle innovation for their own financial gain. A section of the report focused on the practices Apple employs on its App Store, where it strictly controls what software can be used on Apple devices and how it can be installed, while collecting 30 percent fees from many developers who make software for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system.
Apple did not respond to requests for comment. Apple has denied that it is a monopoly or that it uses anticompetitive business practices.
Companies that rely on mobile apps, games and other software tools for Apple devices once feared ending up on Apple’s bad side, and it was rare to hear a critical word about the company spoken in public. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has the final say on which mobile apps are approved for iOS devices and what software features those apps are allowed to utilize.