Epic Games behind anti-Apple App Store legislation in North Dakota

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2021
A North Dakota bill that could upend Apple's control of the iPhone app ecosystem was first given to a lawmaker in draft form by an Epic Games lobbyist, according to a new report.

Credit: Epic Games
Credit: Epic Games


Specifically, the bill would force Apple to allow alternate payment mechanisms and app downloads outside the App Store. According to The New York Times, the draft legislation for the bill was given to North Dakota State Senator Kyle Davison by Lacee Bjork Anderson, a lobbyist that had been hired by Epic Games.

In addition to the "Fortnite" creator, Anderson said she was also being paid by the Coalition for App Fairness. The group, which rallies developers and companies against app marketplace commissions and other policies, also includes Epic, Spotify, and Basecamp.

Anderson told The New York Times that, although North Dakota is a conservative state, it's also "where Teddy Roosevelt came from, and there's no bigger trustbuster." She did concede that the bill may not have the votes to pass.

The lobbyist first approached Davison in January with the proposal. According to the report, she equated the bill as a way to "stop Apple and Google from forcing companies in the state to hand over a share of their app sales." Supporters of the legislation say it could help small companies. Apple's privacy chief testified that the bill could "destroy iPhone as you know it."

The legislation, Senate Bill No. 2333, was introduced in February. Although it could have far-reaching consequences for app stores, it does appear to specifically target Apple's App Store. For example, the bill includes carve outs for game consoles and the Google Play Store already allows alternate app marketplaces.

It also represents the latest volley in the ongoing dispute between Apple and Epic Games. The dustup first started in 2020, when Epic Games baited Apple into removing "Fortnite" from the App Store by implementing a direct payment system in violation of Apple developer guidelines.

Although that first shot happened in August 2020, a report from February indicated that Epic Games spent months planning the lawsuit and broader campaign against Apple's App Store rules. Within Epic, it was dubbed "Project Liberty."

The dispute between Apple and Epic Games will go to trial in May. The bill in North Dakota, however, could indicate that the fight could also extend beyond the courtroom.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    This is an Epic low.

    Why not make a bill that allows player to play free in all games?  Or allow third party app store to buy game coin within a game? 
    auxiolongpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 33
    The best things Apple could do are get rid of in-app purchases and mobile ads entirely.
    Let’s go back to adequate pricing of apps in their entirety - i.e. significant up-front pricing.
    I know it won’t happen but I can dream.
    williamlondonCuJoYYCGG1FileMakerFellerviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 33
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,500member
    viclauyyc said:
    This is an Epic low.

    Why not make a bill that allows player to play free in all games?  Or allow third party app store to buy game coin within a game? 
    Yup.  I should start a petition saying that I want the ability to create Fortnite content and to sell it within the game itself without having to pay Epic anything.  They cover all the costs of creating and maintaining the infrastructure for hosting and selling my content.
    edited February 2021 genovellelongpathviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Sounds like extortion & racketeering to me.
    genovelleviclauyycEsquireCatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 33
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    longpath said:
    Sounds like extortion & racketeering to me.
    That’s because you have no idea what those words mean. 
    DAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 33
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    aderutter said:
    The best things Apple could do are get rid of in-app purchases and mobile ads entirely.
    Let’s go back to adequate pricing of apps in their entirety - i.e. significant up-front pricing.
    I know it won’t happen but I can dream.
    Forcing businesses to use a certain pricing model is a great idea. Let’s get rid of capitalism and the associated free market economics altogether while we’re at it.  
    edited February 2021
  • Reply 7 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,362member
    aderutter said:
    The best things Apple could do are get rid of in-app purchases and mobile ads entirely.
    Let’s go back to adequate pricing of apps in their entirety - i.e. significant up-front pricing.
    I know it won’t happen but I can dream.
    Kind of agree.  There are some benefits to IAP and ad supported apps, but they're far outweighed by the crap.  I'd be very happy to see them go.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    aderutter said:
    The best things Apple could do are get rid of in-app purchases and mobile ads entirely.
    Let’s go back to adequate pricing of apps in their entirety - i.e. significant up-front pricing.
    I know it won’t happen but I can dream.
    Well … why not?

    In-app purchases are a bad idea anyway. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 33
    flydog said:
    longpath said:
    Sounds like extortion & racketeering to me.
    That’s because you have no idea what those words mean. 
    On the contrary, I am perfectly aware of the fact that government is, of its nature, a protection racket, and using the state to compel peaceful parties to specific actions is extortion.

     I encourage you to read Murray Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State.

    extortion: the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.
    "he used bribery and extortion to build himself a huge, art-stuffed mansion"

    racketeering: according to the original and more specific definition, a racket or racketeering generally involves extortion or criminal coercion.
    edited February 2021 williamlondonEsquireCatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 33
    robabarobaba Posts: 226member
    longpath said:
    flydog said:
    longpath said:
    Sounds like extortion & racketeering to me.
    That’s because you have no idea what those words mean. 
    On the contrary, I am perfectly aware of the fact that government is, of its nature, a protection racket, and using the state to compel peaceful parties to specific actions is extortion.
    The word your looking for is “coercion”.
    DAalsethentropys
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Of course they are.

    I think someone should try to put a game store app offering discounted games in the Epic Game store to eat their percentage.

    Ought to be interesting to see how that works out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 33
    So is it possible to not provide service to North Dakota at all? I mean the state has less than a million people in it.
    edited February 2021 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,362member
    longpath said:
    flydog said:
    longpath said:
    Sounds like extortion & racketeering to me.
    That’s because you have no idea what those words mean. 
    On the contrary, I am perfectly aware of the fact that government is, of its nature, a protection racket, and using the state to compel peaceful parties to specific actions is extortion.

     I encourage you to read Murray Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State.

    extortion: the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.
    "he used bribery and extortion to build himself a huge, art-stuffed mansion"

    racketeering: according to the original and more specific definition, a racket or racketeering generally involves extortion or criminal coercion.
    Please spare us this anarchist nonsense.
    DAalsethpscooter63
  • Reply 14 of 33
    USA... The best government that vested interests money can buy Roll-up, roll-up... give me all you campaign contributions into this PAC then I'll pay myself loadsamoney for doing nothing. If the 2020 US Election has taught us anything that the whole election system is broken and clearly not fit for purpose, any purpose other than making the candidates even wealthier than they already are. cyncical? yes indeed.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 33
    Credit card companies take a cut of a developer's revenue when they sell a product outside the App Store. Will the great state of North Dakota make this practice illegal as well?
    viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
       repost!
    edited February 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 33
    If this is true, I predict this will sink the legislation. 

    I expect Epic to be scrambling like crazy soon enough, to contain the fallout.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    Rayz2016 said:
    aderutter said:
    The best things Apple could do are get rid of in-app purchases and mobile ads entirely.
    Let’s go back to adequate pricing of apps in their entirety - i.e. significant up-front pricing.
    I know it won’t happen but I can dream.
    Well … why not?

    In-app purchases are a bad idea anyway. 
    I use my iPhone for day to day things to make my life easier.  I stopped playing games on it so many years ago.  It's a time-waster for me.

    However, with COVID, I had a few months of literally nothing to do so I decided to try out some games that grabbed my attention.  The cesspool of in-app purchases and how almost all of the games I tried were literally developed from beginning to end in such a way to try to get as much money from the player was just offensive to me, and I'm a developer too!  These "games" were almost unplayable.  This is a bad business-model for Apple and I think Apple would be doing the community better by getting rid on in-app purchases.  Today's Internet where everything is "free" is just not sustainable.  People expect "free" apps yet balk at all the ads, in-app purchases, etc.. use it.  It's almost like people forget that there are actual people that work to develop these apps and they too need to get paid and make money.  I get that, but the way in-app purchases are is just seedy.  I will gladly pay $5 (or more) for a quality app than the constant panhandling going on right now.  

    After about a week of trying these apps, I stopped using them.  It was just too much.
    Fidonet127viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,035member
    longpath said:
    Sounds like extortion & racketeering to me.
    Exactly!

    Epic to Apple: “Hey, that’s a nice App Store you have there. It would be a shame if we were to get the government to shut it down.”

    Apple to Epic: “Bring it on, douchebags."


    edited February 2021 GG1longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 33
    rraburrabu Posts: 260member
    sflocal said: 

    After about a week of trying these apps, I stopped using them.  It was just too much.
    At least you could try them. I agree we should ditch IAP but there should also be a mandatory trial period so you don’t buy garbage.
    watto_cobra
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