Apple has been revealed to have close ties with the application developer industry organization

According to people familiar with the matter, the Application Association (ACT), an industry organization representing application developers, claims to be the main spokesperson for global application developers, but in fact, Apple is the organization's biggest behind-the-scenes "gold master". ".

Four former ACT employees said that while Apple is not a member of the association, the tech giant plays a dominant role behind the scenes, influencing the group's policy stance. Critics point out that much of the ACT's lobbying agenda is closely tied to Apple.

ACT argues that the group does not benefit from Apple, but admits that half of its funding does come from Apple. However, many of the former employees mentioned above said the actual ratio was much higher.

The relationship between Apple and ACT shows that big companies are quietly pouring money into outside groups promoting their agendas in Washington. ACT representatives regularly testify before Congress and file court briefs defending Apple's position.

Rick VanMeter, a former congressional aide, and director of the Coalition for App Fairness said ACT's self-proclaimed "representative of app developers" was actually lying, given its close relationship with Apple.

Apple declined to comment, but ACT executives defended its role. ACT chairman Morgan Reed said: "Our job is to make sure that attention is paid to the impact the government can have on all the small businesses that develop cool software products, whether intentional or not."

Reed and other ACT executives said they base their policy positions on members' preferences and would not follow Apple's direction, although they would consider Apple's position. According to the latest figures in the disclosure filing, all donations received by ACT in 2020 exceeded $9 million, of which Apple may have provided millions.

Apple is a major force in the app industry, and its app store is a virtual marketplace that is lucrative for both developers and Apple. Apple takes 15% to 30% of the revenue from these apps, which can amount to billions of dollars a year.

But many app developers object to Apple's high commissions and restrictions. Proposals for antitrust legislation advancing in Congress would require Apple to loosen its grip on the App Store and enable developers to bypass its payment system. But the ACT opposed the bill, arguing it would threaten the privacy and security of the App Store, in line with Apple's stance.

ACT says on its website that it represents 5,000 developers and device companies around the world. In addition to Apple, other corporate sponsors listed on its website include Verisign, AT&T, Intel, and Verizon.

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