Friday, July 15, 2022

Industry Trade Groups

The App Association:

The App Association gives a voice to small technology companies. Our mission is to help members promote an environment that inspires and rewards innovation while providing resources to help them raise capital, create jobs, and continue creating incredible technology.

Florian Mueller:

From time to time it’s unfortunately necessary to expose astroturfers.


A few months ago I had a conversation with a policy officer of one of the other large corporations supporting ACT. By now it seems it really is mostly Apple who’s footing the bill and setting the agenda, but they’re not alone (yet). When ACT came up, I criticized that company for supporting an organization that claims to speak on small app developers’ behalf while actually working against them (and for Apple). The excuse was this: "But in the SEP policy debate we are faced with all those professors who are funded by Qualcomm."

The Competitiveness Coalition:

Fundamentally, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act is a dangerous piece of legislation that will do nothing to drive down costs for Americans and rather help Communist China’s quest for global dominance.


The Competitiveness Coalition is dedicated to spotlighting how American tech drives our economy and supports our competitive edge. We are building a campaign-style infrastructure using a combination of earned, paid and digital media, as well as grassroots and grasstops advocacy, and corresponding government relations activity.

Emily Birnbaum (tweet):

A group fighting antitrust legislation targeting the biggest US tech companies presents itself as a grassroots advocate for American taxpayers, yet it hasn’t disclosed a significant source of funding from one of the industry’s giants: Inc.


Amazon’s public policy shop believed the Competitiveness Coalition could serve as a counterweight to the Chamber of Progress, a left-leaning tech association it also funds led by former Google executive Adam Kovacevich, according to the people. While the Chamber of Progress provides a pro-tech voice on the left, some Amazon public policy officials determined that they needed a similar group on the right.


Update (2022-07-19): Nick Heer:

This is not so different from the language used by Facebook’s front group, American Edge, which claims antitrust regulation will “ultimately hand victory to China”.

Update (2022-09-03): Florian Mueller (Hacker News):

Not only Ericsson--the complainant in three parallel ITC investigations--but also the ITC staff brought motions to compel because Apple refused to provide information on its funding of ACT.


Let me show you the documents because it’s really interesting to see how evasive Apple and its astroturfers are. I believe that would come out is essentially that ACT is a lobbying contractor, like an extension of Apple’s lobbying department. And again, that would have implications not only in the SEP context but even more so with respect to mobile app stores. For instance, next month the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear Epic Games’ appeal, and ACT is one of Apple’s amici.

Update (2022-09-09): Florian Mueller:

The best thing to do would simply be to defund ACT. I really wonder why the decision makers in Cupertino believe they’re actually getting value out of ACT, unless offending app developers (by falsely speaking in our name) has value in and of itself. Policy makers in D.C. and Brussels largely know already that ACT is not the App Association, but the Apple Association. ACT’s claims--such as that small app developers face SEP licensing problems--often don’t withstand scrutiny.

But as long as Apple uses ACT as a tool, it must answer questions--at least the U.S. government’s legitimate questions.

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