New lobbyist group will support the interests of smaller app developers

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Lobbyist group will act as an independent organization.
Photo: Apple

A group of app developers have set up a new lobbyist association called the App Coalition. This independent group will lobby Congress regarding issues relating to app developers.

A Bloomberg report, published Wednesday, notes that nine mobile app developers have banded together for the new organization. The new lobbying group is distinct from the App Association, already sponsored by Apple, Microsoft, and others.

The report notes that:

“Priceline, OpenTable and Kayak, along with Perry Street Software, which operates dating applications, are among the founding members of the App Coalition.”

The group called on Congress Wednesday to ensure that startups are able to access loans and grants intended to assist small businesses. These grants have been set up to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s important that Congress recognizes that the multi-billion dollar app ecosystem remains vital as part of the overall efforts to restart and rebuild the economy,” Perry Street CEO Eric Silverberg said in a statement.

The App Coalition will reportedly work with the App Association. However, the fact that it exists as an independent organization suggests there may be differences of opinion. The App Coalition says that it is working to create a “market free from control by artificial barriers,” such as those created by gatekeepers.

An independent lobbyist group for devs

That would indicate siding with app developers over established powers like Apple. A report for Politico backs this up. It paraphrases Michael Drobac, a lobbyist involved in the effort, as saying that “trade groups were dominated by behemoths such as Microsoft and Apple, while [this] new coalition will represent the interests of smaller app companies.”

Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple’s lobbying has greatly increased. In 2009, Apple only spent $1.5 million lobbying Congress. In 2018, that number had increased to around $6.6 million. However, Apple’s spend is still far behind other tech titans. Cook has said he is not a big fan of lobbying. “I don’t believe in lobbyists,” Cook told ABC News in late 2019. “I believe in direct conversation.”