According to the Bismarck Tribune, Sen. Kyle Davison introduced Senate Bill 2333 to the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee on Tuesday. The bill seeks to prevent app stores, such as the ones run by Apple and Google, from requiring developers to exclusively use their app store and payment system. It also prohibits companies from retaliating against those that don't.
"The purpose of the bill is to level the playing field for app developers in North Dakota and protect customers from devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies," said Davison.
The bill reads...
A proprietor of a digital application distribution platform for which cumulative gross receipts from sales on the digital application distribution platform to residents of this state exceed ten million dollars in the previous or current calendar year may not:
a. Require a developer to use a digital application distribution platform or digital transaction platform as the exclusive mode of distributing a digital product.
b. Require a developer to use an in-application payment system as the exclusive mode of accepting payment from a user to download a software application or purchase a digital or physical product through a software application.
c. Retaliate against a developer for choosing to use an alternative application store or in-application payment system.
As expected, Apple wants to maintain absolute control of which apps can be run on iOS. Apple Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander told the committee the bill "threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it" by mandating changes that "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," he said.
Last year, Apple tried to force Basecamp's email app HEY to offer its subscription as in-app purchase. After a large backlash from the developer community the company retreated its position. Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson attended the hearing and testified in favor of the bill.
"We need a fair digital marketplace free of monopoly abuse as much in Chicago as in Bismarck. And when it comes to the app store duopoly, no single change will have a greater impact than giving small software makers like us a choice when it comes to in-app payment systems, and protection from retaliation, if we refuse the onerous deal the monopolists are offering."
DHH also reacted to Apple's 'destroy iPhone' claim on Twitter saying...
And "OMG THE WORLD IS GOING TO FALL IF YOU SIDELOAD" argument from Apple is truly peach, when you consider they've had a computing platform for FOURTY YEARS that "allows" that. It's the Mac! The Mac is GREAT BECAUSE OF IT. (M1 Macs extra great)
Apple's representative literally said it would "destroy iPhone as you know it". Lol. I know the Mac has been declared dead many times, but come on, to have Apple be the one chanting that nonsense is beyond over the top.
You can read his full written testimony here.
The committee didn't take immediate action on the bill. Chairman Sen. Jerry Klein said "there's still some mulling to be done."
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