Minnesota the latest to introduce bill that allows developers to bypass App Store billing

Posted:
in General Discussion
Following on the heels of failed legislation in North Dakota and a similar bill in Arizona, Minnesota has joined the ranks of states trying to force Apple to allow apps to bypass App Store billing.

Minnesota joins North Dakota and Arizona in proposing bills that would allow developers to bypass App Store fees
Minnesota joins North Dakota and Arizona in proposing bills that would allow developers to bypass App Store fees


The proposal would reportedly make Apple and Google allow Minnesota developers to bypass App Store restrictions and commissions on their devices. Even if developers sell their apps directly or through other channels, the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts.

"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, the bill's sponsor in the House.

The proposed legislation appears to be part of a broader and coordinated effort across U.S. states. A similar bill failed in North Dakota earlier in February, and the Arizona state House of Representatives is set to vote on another piece of legislation targeting app-store fees.

The Arizona and Minnesota bills stop short of requiring third-party app stores, focusing instead on requiring specific in-app payment systems as the sole way to accept payments. Both proposals also seek to prevent tech companies from retaliating against developers who bypass their payment systems.

An Epic Games campaign to force Apple to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone
An Epic Games campaign to force Apple to allow third-party app stores on the iPhone


An Epic Games lobbyist was reportedly behind the North Dakota bill, providing a draft to state lawmakers. The lobbyist was reportedly also being paid by the Coalition for App Fairness, a group that includes Epic, Spotify, and Basecamp.

Epic Games started its campaign against App Store fees in 2020, a premeditated effort that the company kicked off by inserting a server-side payment method in "Fortnite" that would bypass the App Store. Apple swiftly removed "Fortnite," sparking the ongoing legal battle that is now being played out across state legislatures.

Apple and Google reportedly responded to the Minnesota proposal with swift and aggressive lobbying to stop the bill. The companies have help from the Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity, a group that testified against the North Dakota bill.

An Apple spokesperson said that the earlier and failed North Dakota bill could "destroy iPhone as you know it" and would carry significant consequences to users for privacy, security, safety, and performance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,398member
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? This basically amounts to a government takeover of private property.
    StrangeDaysAnasazi59darelrexiloveapplegearmike1jcs2305d_2GG1thtbaconstang
  • Reply 2 of 79
    dewme said:
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? This basically amounts to a government takeover of private property.
    👍
    Anasazi59jibedge57mac_dogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 79
    McDonald’s and Burger King do not allow other vendors to sell to consumers in their stores or on their grounds. Should they be forced to allow street food vendors to use their parking lots to sell to consumers directly?
    Anasazi59iloveapplegearmike1rob53baconstangwilliamlondonHyperealitywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 79
    So Apple is to create a place for apps, and see no revenue for maintaining the eco system for all these petulant businesses that want everything for free.

    Law makers should understand business and technology if they are going legislate the tech companies.
    iloveapplegearzeus423rob53GG1baconstangolsHyperealitywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 79
    I would not expect to go into local supermarket and see competing sellers goods there.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 79
    dewme said:
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? This basically amounts to a government takeover of private property.
    Also, would Target allow the makers of the products to collect the full purchase price, leaving $0.00 for Target? I think Target would just shut down its Minnesota stores. And guess what: if this law passes, then many other stores — online and brick-&-mortar both — are going to be targeted by huge lawsuits that say this law is a precedent that they must do the same thing. We'll all get to see just how lightning-fast the MN legislature can repeal a law.
    rob53Bombdoebaconstangapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 79
    Great.....by-pass Apps store too
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 79
    rcfarcfa Posts: 936member
    Very easy: have two modes for iOS: one akin to macOS, where the user has full control, another one that’s jailed.

    support and warranty is applicable only in jailed mode.

    in full access mode, any app can be installed, with the corresponding consequences for security and privacy.

    give users the tools and the choices…

    …but give Apple sovereignty over its own AppStore 
    olswilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 79
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,424member
    dewme said:
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? 
    Probably, yes.  I wouldn't be altogether surprised if some stores are obliged to sell some products that are unprofitable but socially beneficial as a condition of trading in some parts of the world.  It's won't be particularly onerous, these stores are very profitable.

    If it's forcing the stocking of a dumb shooting game that teenagers play, that's still not particularly scary, it's just a bit pathetic that lawmakers think this is worthwhile.
    elijahg
  • Reply 10 of 79
    crowley said:
    dewme said:
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? 
    Probably, yes.  I wouldn't be altogether surprised if some stores are obliged to sell some products that are unprofitable but socially beneficial as a condition of trading in some parts of the world.  It's won't be particularly onerous, these stores are very profitable.

    If it's forcing the stocking of a dumb shooting game that teenagers play, that's still not particularly scary, it's just a bit pathetic that lawmakers think this is worthwhile.
    There is little to no chance that the lawmakers introducing these bills see the issue of the app stores as worthwhile.  What they see as worthwhile are the campaign donations from Epic, Spotify and Basecamp and/or the threat from those companies and their flacks to support alternative candidates. 
    docbburkbaconstangwilliamlondonfred1larryjwbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 79
    Anyone else think there's something fishy on an Epic scale going on here with the rash of Bills being introduced?
    docbburkfred1bloggerblogwatto_cobradarelrex
  • Reply 12 of 79
    darelrex said:
    dewme said:
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? This basically amounts to a government takeover of private property.
    Also, would Target allow the makers of the products to collect the full purchase price, leaving $0.00 for Target? I think Target would just shut down its Minnesota stores. And guess what: if this law passes, then many other stores — online and brick-&-mortar both — are going to be targeted by huge lawsuits that say this law is a precedent that they must do the same thing. We'll all get to see just how lightning-fast the MN legislature can repeal a law.
    It sounds like you are implying that Apple could also shut down its app store or physical stores in Minnesota. Excellent. I've been arguing this as a possible path for Apple for months or years, in the case of an insane law like this. Thanks for joining my cause. Welcome to the party, pal.



    But there's a principle in politics that should apply here: when your enemy is about to do something really really stupid, let them do it! Encourage them to do it! Therefore, I want to see some minor jurisdiction like Minnesota make it illegal for Apple to make money for one of its services - in this case, the App Store. I desperately want to see what Apple will do if a jurisdiction outlaws profits for a specific service. There are many options, and I want to see Apple take the toughest action possible which is to completely pull out of business in Minnesota, both retail and online services. Without notice. And then when Minnesota reverts their law, don't return and don't say what it would take to return. Then make them wait and don't tell them when services and products will return. Actually, there's an even tougher response than this, but I don't want to scare Minnesota from passing this law.
    d_2aderutterdarelrex
  • Reply 13 of 79
    Free apps with in-app purchases are really the problem here.

    How about a compromise - You, Mr./Ms Developer can offer your own in-app purchases but...
    • Apps that use non-Apple in-app purchases can not be offered for free or for some ridiculously low price.  It must be purchased from the App Store at some amount to cover the cost of Apple distributing your application.  I don't know what that amount is so let's say $5 is a good starting point. (that's the equivalent of a $15-ish app).
    • Apple keeps 100% of the purchase price of the app. You're keeping 100% (or more than 70%) of the in-app revenue which is where you've decided your business model is going to make you money. So why should you expect Apple to pay you for something you're not paying them for now. 
    • You may not use Apple's in-app purchase infrastructure as an option. You must provide your own in-app purchase infrastructure and customer service. Don't come crying to Apple about issues with in-app purchases.
    • If you want to use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, you can offer a free app, and Apple will take a commission on the in-app purchase like it does today.





    edited February 26 d_2baconstangapplguy
  • Reply 14 of 79
    Free apps with in-app purchases are really the problem here.

    How about a compromise - You, Mr./Ms Developer can offer your own in-app purchases but...
    • Apps that use non-Apple in-app purchases can not be offered for free or for some ridiculously low price.  It must be purchased from the App Store at some amount to cover the cost of Apple distributing your application.  I don't know what that amount is so let's say $5 is a good starting point. (that's the equivalent of a $15-ish app).
    • Apple keeps 100% of the purchase price of the app. You're keeping 100% (or more than 70%) of the in-app revenue which is where you've decided your business model is going to make you money. So why should you expect Apple to pay you for something you're not paying them for now. 
    • You may not use Apple's in-app purchase infrastructure as an option. You must provide your own in-app purchase infrastructure and customer service. Don't come crying to Apple about issues with in-app purchases.
    • If you want to use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, you can offer a free app, and Apple will take a commission on the in-app purchase like it does today.
    Who speaks for developers? How are they going to vote on your proposal? Does a big developer who sells a million copies get a million votes, while a developer who sells only one copy gets one vote?

    And does Apple get to vote, or does Apple have a veto, or do you think Apple should be forced to follow whatever the developers choose?

    Will this arrangement somehow magically free Apple from all government regulations and restrictions on its app store, including foreign governments?

    What is your estimate as to the revenue drop Apple will suffer if this proposal is adopted?
    edited February 26
  • Reply 15 of 79
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,462member
    crowley said:
    dewme said:
    "the tech giants would be forced to allow them in their digital storefronts"

    That's some very scary Big Brother massively intrusive sh**. Would Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc., allow the government to force them to stock certain products on their shelves even if the retailer did not want to carry such products? 
    Probably, yes.  I wouldn't be altogether surprised if some stores are obliged to sell some products that are unprofitable but socially beneficial as a condition of trading in some parts of the world.  It's won't be particularly onerous, these stores are very profitable.

    If it's forcing the stocking of a dumb shooting game that teenagers play, that's still not particularly scary, it's just a bit pathetic that lawmakers think this is worthwhile.
    I think some of you are missing the point. What Minnesota, Arizona, and others are wanting to do is to let developers (product suppliers) use the Apple Store (Walmart, Target, etc.) sell their applications using the entire infrastructure of the Apple App Store while forcing Apple (like Walmart, etc.) to give the developers 100% of the sale price to the developer. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. No store will let product suppliers use floor space and pocket 100% of the sale price. If they were forced to do this, these stores would go out of business in 5 minutes. The product suppliers (software developers) have to pay something for floor space, utilities, etc. (App Store), or you're looking at a charity and not a business. Apple, like other businesses, are not in business to give away things (maybe a few things they can write off but not what these developers are asking for). As others have said, time for politicians and judges to take a business class before making stupid decisions. If these laws go into effect, it wouldn't take long for stock holders to demand Apple do something because Apple would be giving away services they have historically been charging for. Apple giving away software is not the same thing as services.
    d_2baconstangrandominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 79
    rob53 said:
    Apple would be giving away services they have historically been charging for.
    Not only that, but Apple would be giving away services to some of its direct competitors. Many of the products in the App Store are in direct competition with Apple's own software products.
    watto_cobradarelrex
  • Reply 17 of 79
    Free apps with in-app purchases are really the problem here.

    How about a compromise - You, Mr./Ms Developer can offer your own in-app purchases but...
    • Apps that use non-Apple in-app purchases can not be offered for free or for some ridiculously low price.  It must be purchased from the App Store at some amount to cover the cost of Apple distributing your application.  I don't know what that amount is so let's say $5 is a good starting point. (that's the equivalent of a $15-ish app).
    • Apple keeps 100% of the purchase price of the app. You're keeping 100% (or more than 70%) of the in-app revenue which is where you've decided your business model is going to make you money. So why should you expect Apple to pay you for something you're not paying them for now. 
    • You may not use Apple's in-app purchase infrastructure as an option. You must provide your own in-app purchase infrastructure and customer service. Don't come crying to Apple about issues with in-app purchases.
    • If you want to use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, you can offer a free app, and Apple will take a commission on the in-app purchase like it does today.





    Regarding your third point, if something goes wrong I can see the consumer not distinguishing between Apple and the developer company and that Apple would be getting all the blame and heat.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 79
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,880member
    Free apps with in-app purchases are really the problem here.

    How about a compromise - You, Mr./Ms Developer can offer your own in-app purchases but...
    • Apps that use non-Apple in-app purchases can not be offered for free or for some ridiculously low price.  It must be purchased from the App Store at some amount to cover the cost of Apple distributing your application.  I don't know what that amount is so let's say $5 is a good starting point. (that's the equivalent of a $15-ish app).
    • Apple keeps 100% of the purchase price of the app. You're keeping 100% (or more than 70%) of the in-app revenue which is where you've decided your business model is going to make you money. So why should you expect Apple to pay you for something you're not paying them for now. 
    • You may not use Apple's in-app purchase infrastructure as an option. You must provide your own in-app purchase infrastructure and customer service. Don't come crying to Apple about issues with in-app purchases.
    • If you want to use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, you can offer a free app, and Apple will take a commission on the in-app purchase like it does today.





    How about Apple shut down the App Store altogether and let developers fend for themselves. This is how the Mac platform has operated for decades before app stores were a thing. Let users install whatever they want from wherever they want but Apple still holds them to privacy and security rules. Small developers will of course disappear almost immediately but hey, fuck ‘em.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 79
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,398member
    It would be one thing if Apple "lured" partners into its budding ecosystem and suddenly jumped in and exerted its newfound "monopoly" power by placing extra demands on its now "locked in" partners. But this was never the case. If anything Apple has bent to pressure from developers and lightened up on their original demands while continuing to invest billions into infrastructure.

    I just think these lazy, self entitled POS entities like Epic are playing Apple for a rube and trying to bully Apple through the employment of lobbyists who know how to tweak these clueless and bought and paid-for politicians to do their bidding for them. Arming lobbyists with bags of cash and support from mobs of whiners and fakers is a whole lot cheaper than investing in R&D and doing the hard work required to create, grow, and foster an ecosystem that has broad appeal and staying power. 

    These legislators are disgusting and make a mockery of the inventive and entrepreneurial spirit that separates the doers from the hangers-on and slackers. 
    d_2GG1baconstangwatto_cobradarelrex
  • Reply 20 of 79
    dewme said:
    It would be one thing if Apple "lured" partners into its budding ecosystem and suddenly jumped in and exerted its newfound "monopoly" power by placing extra demands on its now "locked in" partners. But this was never the case. If anything Apple has bent to pressure from developers and lightened up on their original demands while continuing to invest billions into infrastructure.

    I just think these lazy, self entitled POS entities like Epic are playing Apple for a rube and trying to bully Apple through the employment of lobbyists who know how to tweak these clueless and bought and paid-for politicians to do their bidding for them. Arming lobbyists with bags of cash and support from mobs of whiners and fakers is a whole lot cheaper than investing in R&D and doing the hard work required to create, grow, and foster an ecosystem that has broad appeal and staying power. 

    These legislators are disgusting and make a mockery of the inventive and entrepreneurial spirit that separates the doers from the hangers-on and slackers. 
    There is a lot of attention being paid towards BIG TECH - some of it justified.  

    But as a consequence of this scrutiny there will be significant collateral damage. Practices that are appropriate will be tainted with this brush and suffer for it.

    Issues are not being fairly considered and the tropes of BIG BAD TECH, GREEDY APPLE and MONOPOLY are being thrown about easily and lazily. 

    Apple have based a key part of their business around controlling access to their platforms for privacy and user protection. Some of what's been proposed can destroy the safeguards that users enjoy and rely upon. But a large part of the user community may not realise they are there. And importantly the governments don't properly appreciate them either.
    dewmeroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
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