On Tuesday, the North Dakota senate voted 36-11 against the passing of a bill that made it mandatory for app stores to allow software developers to use their individual payment processing software. By doing so, these developers would have saved a hefty amount that they currently pay as fees to Apple and Google to feature their apps on the Apple and Google App Stores.
This bill has been a first major U.S. legislation attempt at a state level to look into the fees which go up to 30% from app store sales. Congresspersons at the state were divided about its outcome.
The Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) had lobbied for the passage of this bill. CAF includes many software companies such as Epic Games, Spotify, Match Group and about 50 more.
In October, the House Judiciary Subcommittee had stated that Apple’s “monopoly power” over apps used in its devices, gave the company huge profits.
In 2019, Apple lost a Supreme Court case 5-4 which has created the possibility of consumer lawsuits against its app store for allegedly boosting app prices.
In 2020, the company introduced a new program that partly reduced its high fees. Companies that made less than a million dollars a year in sales at the App Store could pay 15% instead of 30% as fees.
Apple says that the App store is an integral part of its product. The tech giant is able to keep its iPhone and other device users safe from scams as well as malware attacks by maintaining tight control over its products which includes the App Store.
An Apple official, when opposing the bill, testified that the bill would destroy the “iPhone as you know it.”
Apple has faced more scrutiny than Google because it does not allow app stores from its competitors such as Samsung on its App store unlike the Google Store.
The North Dakota bill was going to add a clause that could open a window for competing app stores when the bill was introduced. However Tuesday’s amended bill limited legislation on the payment process and Apple was victorious, despite a small margin.
Other U.S. states such as Arizona are also considering such legislation.