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Japanese industry groups denounce smartphone ‘oligopoly’ and push for passage of bill allowing third-party app stores


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The Google logo will be seen in Las Vegas, Nevada in January.

Seven IT-related industry groups released a joint statement Friday in support of a new bill that would promote competition in smartphone software, highlighting Apple and Google, which dominate the operating system and app markets. Japan’s tech companies are on weak footing compared to their American rivals, and it is highly unusual for industry groups to jointly criticize the tech giants.

The seven groups include the Mobile Content Forum, the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association, the Information Technology Federation of Japan and the Japan Startup Support Association. The groups consist of app distribution companies, gaming companies and software development companies. In total, more than 550 companies are represented.

The statement said the tech giants are prioritizing their own interests through an “oligopoly,” imposing excessive burdens, such as fees, on app companies. It also says there is an urgent need for new rules to control the dominance of the tech giants and promote technological innovation, before calling for the bill to be passed.

The bill is currently being debated in parliament and includes provisions that would allow other companies to open app stores and ban unfair treatment of app distribution companies. A director of an app industry association said the statement was released because the bill has been submitted to the current Diet session and there is a growing need to convey the industry’s views to the public.

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