Apple and Google Win as North Dakota Votes Against a Bill to Regulate App Stores

By Adriaan Brits Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The State of North Dakota voted against legislation that would have allowed software developers to use their own payment software in app stores, therefore, avoiding paying fees to Apple and Google.

Digital concept of business technology law.

Good News for Apple and Google

According to the official voting results, the “SB2333” bill didn’t receive the required support, with only 11 votes in favor and 36 votes against.

The legislation was brought forward to prevent major companies that make over $10 million in annual revenue from imposing rules on developers. If the bill was passed, it would have applied only to North Dakota-based firms.

The bill is the first major state-level legislation to take into account app stores, where Google and Apple charge up to 30% from sales, including in-app purchases of digital products. The result of the vote was welcomed by Apple as its App Store plays a key role in maintaining control over its rules that prevents malware from attacking Apple devices.

Apple strongly criticized the draft bill where the company’s privacy engineering official Erik Neuenschwander said last week that the legislation could “destroy iPhone as you know it.”

“Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; Senate Bill 2333 could require us to let them in,” Neuenschwander said.

“For a store owner, that would be like the government forcing you to stock your shelves with products you know lack in quality, authenticity, or even safety.”

If the legislation was passed in North Dakota, it could have encouraged other states to follow suit and propose similar bills. Arizona state officials are already holding discussions about a bill that would target Apple’s commercial power.

“North Dakota has a chance to be a leader, we have a chance to send it across the hall for further discussion,” said Kyle Davison, an Arizona state senator.

“It’s an economic development bill because if this bill gets across the hallway, there isn’t enough hangar space to fly the private jets in from California.”

Another state senator, Jerry Klein, who opposed the legislation, argued that North Dakota is not a state that disputes over solutions concerning companies and what commission and payment systems they employ.

Summary

North Dakota state legislators voted against a bill that would have allowed software developers to use alternative payment systems instead of Google and Apple app stores and help them avoid paying fees to those companies.

About the Author


Headshot of Adriaan Brits

An analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in advanced analytics and media.

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