Earlier this month, a bill in the North Dakota state senate failed to pass by a vote of 11 to 26. Had the bill passed and eventually signed by the Governor of the state, it would have forced Apple and Google to make some changes to the App Store and Play Store respectively. Both tech giants would not be allowed to force developers to use its in-app payment platform. Additionally, neither company would not be allowed to retaliate against developers who want to use a different method of distribution or payment platform.
Arizona’s House of Representatives seeks to vote on the Apple and Google taxes
Even though the bill failed to move on in North Dakota, many felt that other states would soon try to pass similar legislation. This is happening while the recent battle between Apple, Google and developer Epic Games, the company behind the hugely popular Fortnite title, heats up. In order to avoid giving Apple and Google their 30% cut of in-app purchases, Epic gave Fortnite users a link to its own in-app payment platform; this violates the terms and conditions that developers must follow to keep their apps listed in the App Store and the Play Store. Apple and Google then tossed the game from their respective app storefronts. Epic responded by suing both tech giants. Google is a bit less restrictive than Apple because Android allows users to sideload apps from a third-party app store, something that is not allowed in that walled garden known as iOS.
The Arizona House of Representatives will vote on legislation that would prevent Apple from forcing developers to use its in-app payment platform
Now, according to AppleInsider, the focus is on the state of Arizona where an amendment to Arizona House Bill 2005 is making its way to the state’s House of Representatives. The bill “restricts the ability of certain digital application distribution platforms to require use of a specific in-application payment system.” In other words, should the bill become law, Apple and Google would not be able to force developers to use their respective in-app payment platforms. Companies whose downloads from Arizona exceeded 1 million would not be allowed to accept payments from only one particular in-app platform. Similar to the bill in North Dakota, these companies would not be allowed to retaliate against developers that use a third-party payment service.
State Reps. Regina Cobb and Leo Biasiucci, the co-sponsors of the bill, recently wrote an op-ed for the Arizona Capitol Times titled “It’s time to free ourselves from ‘Big Tech’ monopoly.” The State Reps. mistakenly wrote “Apple and Google have a monopoly on how you download apps to your phone. Because of that, for any app that offers digital services like games or music, you have to pay through Apple or Google’s monopolistic payment processing system. What most people don’t know is that Apple and Google take a 30% cut because of their app tax.” But Cobb and Biasiucci should not have included Google in any sentence with the word monopoly since (as we previously mentioned) Google allows Android users to sideload apps. The op-ed also states that, “The legislation would allow web developers to accept payments for their apps without going through Apple or Google’s app stores, bypassing the app tax and reducing the cost for consumers without compromising security or safety.”
If you recall, when we first wrote about the North Dakota legislation, we told you that Apple’s chief privacy engineer, Erik Neuenschwander, said that the bill “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it.” The same comment would basically apply to what the state of Arizona is attempting to do. Which Neuenschwander states would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design. Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; (the bill) could require us to let them in.” The Arizona House Committee has already passed the bill and the amendment. Now it goes before the full Arizona House for a vote.