Proponents of a North Dakota Senate bill say the legislation would clamp down on app stores — such as the Apple App Store — seen as monopolistic, but opponents see it as interference and potentially harmful, according to The Bismarck Tribune.
Sen. Kyle Davison, R-Fargo, on Tuesday introduced Senate Bill 2333 to the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee. The bill would ban app stores such as Apple and Google Play from requiring app developers to exclusively use their app store and payment system, and prohibit retaliating. Violations would be considered an unlawful practice under state law, opening a door to lawsuits.
“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,” Davison told “The Tribune,” referring to a 30% fee imposed by Apple and Google on in-app purchases, which he said penalizes small app developers “by raising prices and limiting choices for consumers.”
Apple Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander told the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee the bill “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it” by mandating changes which he said 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,” he said.
As a state bill, the proposed legislation would only affect the operation of businesses like the App Store within North Dakota. However, “The Verge” says the sweeping changes the bill calls for would likely require companies like Apple to make substantial platform-level changes that could affect software distribution on a national scale.