An anti-App Store bill is quietly proposed in another U.S state, Minnesota. The state legislators are proposing to open Apple’s and Google’s digital market places to developers by allowing them to offer their apps directly with revised in-app purchases payment methods on App Store and Google Play, respectively.
This bill introduced after the North Dakota senate rejected a similar bill by 11-36 votes in February. The legislators were convinced by Apple’s argument that the bill threatened the users’ privacy and safety and the iPhone’s performance. Apple’s Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander said,
The bill threatens to destroy the iPhone as you know it by forcing measures that would undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that is built into iPhone by design. Apple works hard to keep the bad apps out of the App Store and the bill could require then to let them in.
The North Dakota bill was drafted by Epic Games lobbyist, Lacee Bjork Anderson who was paid by the Coalition for App Fairness. Maybe this one is backed by Fortnite’s developer Epic Games, who is engaged in a legal battle to seek court’s order to allow the game on the App Store and Google Play Store with direct payment method, without the 30% share cut.
Minnesota senate proposes anti-App Store bill
As reported by StarTribune, the state representative Zack Stephenson defended his bill by saying that the growing power and influence of the tech giants is alarming and by allowing developers to offer their apps on the Apple and Google platforms on their own terms will save them from paying 30% commission.
“A lot of people are concerned about the increased influence and power that Big Tech has, and I think there’s a lot of interest in trying to make sure that we have a fair and open digital economy,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, who is sponsoring the bill in the House.
Supporters say it would level the playing field for developers and help them avoid sizable commissions collected by Apple and Google in their app stores. It’s part of a larger push making its way to state legislatures, including Arizona and Georgia, to chip away at the power just a few companies have over much of the digital landscape.
It is said that both tech giants are lobbying privately against the new bill. In support of the 30% commission rate and App Store review policy, Minnesota state director of Americans for Prosperity, Jason Flohrs said that other payment methods would impact users’ privacy and security.
“If the government starts telling tech companies how to run their products, they can’t keep them as secure,” he said, adding that the more government gets involved in business decisions, the “less we see the innovation that has driven that industry and driven the apps and the tools that customers want.”