North Dakota Senate debates breaking Apple's App Store monopoly

Posted:
in General Discussion
A new bill being debated in North Dakota could see Apple forced to allow sideloading of apps, and not require developers to use the App Store in-app purchasing mechanism.

Apple's App Store and Google Play
Apple's App Store and Google Play


North Dakota's Senate legislature has been discussing a proposed bill that would shake up Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store by removing their alleged monopolies. What is proposed in Senate Bill No. 2333, is specifically to do with developers being forced to sell through App Stores.

The bill does not mention Apple or Google by name. Instead, it seeks to be applied to any "digital application distribution platform" for general computing, like an iPhone, which earns over $10 million annually from sales in North Dakota. There are carve-outs for "special-purpose digial application distribution platforms" like a game console or dedicated music player, which exclude stores for devices like the various Xbox or PlayStation consoles from the provisions of the bill.

The bill mandates that general purpose platforms can not require a developer to use their app store. Furthermore, platforms also may not "require a developer to use an in-application payment system as the exclusive mode of accepting payment."

Finally, they may not "retaliate against a developer for choosing to use an alternative application store or in-application payment system."

According to The Bismark Tribune, the bill was introduced by Senator Kyle Davison (R-Fargo), who claimed that App Store fees were unfair.

"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," he said. "[This penalizes smaller developers] by raising prices and limiting choices for consumers."

During the hearing, Apple's chief privacy engineer Erik Neuenschwander said that passing the bill would threaten "to destroy iPhone as you know it." He said that these proposed changes 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; [this bill] could require us to let them in," he continued.

North Dakota has an app of its own on Apple's App Store, the contact tracing coronavirus Care19. It has been criticised, however, for contradicting its own privacy policy and sharing information with other companies.

Based on the committee votes so far, it does not appear that the bill will pass in its present form.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,010member
    The Apple discussion forums are full of users who downloaded a sketchy app on their Mac only to be hosed by it, screaming for help and blaming Apple. Yet they still bitch and moan about macOS’s SIP and “signed” requirements. Triple that when developers can avoid the App Store and trick iOS users into installing all manner of scam software that compromises their device and/or privacy. Of course Apple always gets the blame when that happens. It’s like death and taxes.

    It’s probably coming and it will hard to have sympathy for iOS users who get hosed by a bad app on their iPhone or iPad.
    JWSCrmusikantowronntmaybloggerblogMactintviclauyycn2itivguywilliamlondonjony0
  • Reply 2 of 44
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,277member
    I love how they try to make their motives sound so altruistic by saying, "...and protect customers from devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies." 
    Would someone please think of the children!!!  :D
    edited February 10 kingofsomewherehotmystigobloggerblogjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 44
    Don't buy a iPhone in North Dakota.
    edited February 10 citylightsappleMactintn2itivguyjony0watto_cobralkrupp
  • Reply 4 of 44
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,744member
    Will the proposed law let North Dakotans sue the state if malware through side-loaded apps empty their bank accounts?  Or better yet, will the proposed law fully reimburse victims of such fraud?
    edited February 10 lkruppkingofsomewherehotbloggerblogMactintn2itivguyuraharacitylightsapplejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 44
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 881member
    Putting aside the merits of this legislation, questionable though they may be, I’m not sure this can be done at the state level.  Interstate commerce remains the realm of the federal Government.

    It would be enlightening to know who is behind this legislative push.  As Deepthroat would have said, “Follow the money.”
    aderutterapplguyMplsPwilliamlondonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 44
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,424member
    JWSC said:
    Putting aside the merits of this legislation, questionable though they may be, I’m not sure this can be done at the state level.  Interstate commerce remains the realm of the federal Government.

    It would be enlightening to know who is behind this legislative push.  As Deepthroat would have said, “Follow the money.”

    I agree with the first part. I'm not sure a state can get away with it.  As for the second point, I think what we see coming out of several "red" states right now probably is less about money and more about a reaction to what's going on with Big Tech.  Florida is pushing an anti-censorship bill, for example.  Their constituents are pissed (in my view, rightfully) and they want to make it look like they are doing something.  
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 44
    Apple is doomed! It could ill afford to lose a market like ND, just shy of 800,000 people! Most of them inveterate Apple customers!

    You could see more of an impact by closing any of the top 20 grossing physical Apple Stores. Because I don’t think Apple will undergo such a major restructuring (which I won’t argue the pros or cons) for such a tiny market.

    It’s time some people get inconvenienced on some things they take for granted. Perhaps this way, they stop voting for stupid...
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 44
    Dear North Dakota,

    You are not California.  If you mess with us, we'll just drop service in your state.

    Cordially,
    Apple
    StrangeDaysviclauyycDogpersonwilliamlondonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 44
    Will North Dakota arrest tourists (or US citizens) for possessing an iPhone that supports Apple's App Store Guidelines, or will North Dakota simply make it illegal to sell/purchase an iPhone in North Dakota (if Apple refuses to comply)?

    I would compare this to North Dakota passing a law demanding that GM sell all its cars with a steering wheel on both sides of the car. GM would simply say no, and would stop selling all cars in ND, and then ND would have to decide wether to arrest tourists and visitors for driving GM cars that have a steering wheel only on the driver's side.

    I hope and pray ND goes through with this insanity so we can see the consequences, and the world knows what Apple will do in any jurisdiction that does this. I'm sure Apple is happy it's ND and not NY that's trying this first.

    I've been making this argument on this forum for at least a year. I'd love to see my predictions come true.

    Dogperson
  • Reply 10 of 44
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,206member
    lkrupp said:
    The Apple discussion forums are full of users who downloaded a sketchy app on their Mac only to be hosed by it, screaming for help and blaming Apple. Yet they still bitch and moan about macOS’s SIP and “signed” requirements. Triple that when developers can avoid the App Store and trick iOS users into installing all manner of scam software that compromises their device and/or privacy. Of course Apple always gets the blame when that happens. It’s like death and taxes.

    It’s probably coming and it will hard to have sympathy for iOS users who get hosed by a bad app on their iPhone or iPad.
    Care to share links to these forum threads where people got their Macs “hosed” by sketchy software? I’ve not seen it. I often download stuff outside the App Store because... it’s just normal to me. Most software I want to use isn’t in the App Store and never will be. I exercise caution like I always did in the 25+ years prior to app stores.
    kingofsomewherehotmuthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 44
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,206member
    Hey, is Apple putting some depth back into their design, or is that App Store icon just a very old version from prior to the horrible flat design fad?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 44
    1348513485 Posts: 179member
    “Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and furysignifying nothing.”

    (Macbeth)
    hammeroftruthradarthekat
  • Reply 13 of 44
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,886member
    If we are running around eagerly writing legislation for this and that like good little Soviet technocrats, how about a law that imposes severe penalties for the misuse of the word “monopoly”.
    edited February 10 kingofsomewherehotmartinp13radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 44
    dysamoria said:
    Care to share links to these forum threads where people got their Macs “hosed” by sketchy software? I’ve not seen it. I often download stuff outside the App Store because... it’s just normal to me. Most software I want to use isn’t in the App Store and never will be. I exercise caution like I always did in the 25+ years prior to app stores.
    This is all supposed to "help" developers, but the bigger problem will come when all of those developers start LOSING money from people side-loading ripped off versions of their applications.

    That's why the Play store is much less profitable. People are too cheap to spend a buck on a app and Android allows side-loading... so they just find a place to download it and go.
    viclauyyckingofsomewherehotjdb8167uraharacitylightsapplejony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Next up — a bill to require McDonald’s and Burger King to allow sushi vendors to sell raw fish in their stores. 
    edited February 10 rob55viclauyycDogpersonuraharawilliamlondonradarthekatjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 44
    How is are game consoles different than a mobile device? I guess they only want to open the can of worms halfway. 
    StrangeDaysn2itivguykingofsomewherehotmartinp13williamlondonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 44
    North Dakota has 0.2% of the American population. I don't see that as a particularly valuable market for any tech company.

    Given that there are zero Apple stores there, the state doesn't seem to have option to enforce this. Sure, they could ban third-party sales of iPhones within the state, but isn't that in itself anticompetitive?

    On the positive side, the secondary market for used Nokia 8210s might surge.


    viclauyycDogpersonradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 44
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,939member
    JWSC said:
    Putting aside the merits of this legislation, questionable though they may be, I’m not sure this can be done at the state level.  Interstate commerce remains the realm of the federal Government.

    It would be enlightening to know who is behind this legislative push.  As Deepthroat would have said, “Follow the money.”
    My thoughts exactly. The other question is why an xbox console is any different from a phone, other than some legislator got a campaign donation from Microsoft.
    williamlondonjony0
  • Reply 19 of 44
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,126member
    MplsP said:
    JWSC said:
    Putting aside the merits of this legislation, questionable though they may be, I’m not sure this can be done at the state level.  Interstate commerce remains the realm of the federal Government.

    It would be enlightening to know who is behind this legislative push.  As Deepthroat would have said, “Follow the money.”
    My thoughts exactly. The other question is why an xbox console is any different from a phone, other than some legislator got a campaign donation from Microsoft.
    There are a few differences.  For example, a console is not a general purpose device, as an iPhone / iPad.  Second, as today, console users are not forced to use the app store, neither the app store payment system.  They can purchase a physical or digital game from a retailer, like Amazon or Walmart.
  • Reply 20 of 44
    Please don’t do this I don’t want malware and shit on my iPhone if I want that I would get an android... 
    n2itivguyBombdoeuraharaDogpersonwatto_cobra
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