New mobile app laws proposed in Arizona and North Dakota states could force mobile tech giants Apple and Google to allow app developers to choose alternative in-app payment methods instead of requiring them to to use their own payment systems.
“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,” said Sen. Kyle Davison who introduced the Senate Bill 2333. He said that the 30% fee that the major app stores cut for each payment raises prices and limits choices for mobile consumers.
David Heinemeier Hansson, the founder & CTO of Basecamp and the creator of Ruby on Rails, shared a tweet yesterday and said he would be testifying remotely in the Arizona House Commerce Committee’s hearing that takes place today.
The Arizona House Commerce Committee is having a hearing tomorrow on a bill to offer software makers protection from app store payment processing extortion and retaliation. I’ll be testifying remotely! This is like the ND bill, but without alternative app stores. Just payment. pic.twitter.com/1AdkKsebBH— DHH (@dhh) February 15, 2021
As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple has already testified against the proposed law. Apple’s Software Manager Erik Neuenschwander said such combination of restrictions “threatens to destroy the iPhone as you know it” and “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design.”
Basecamp founder Hansson shared another tweet and said Apple’s response is ‘complete nonsense’.
Apple spent all their time in North Dakota arguing alternative app stores would “destroy iPhone as you know it”, which of course is complete nonsense (didn’t destroy Mac, didn’t destroy Android). But this bill doesn’t even have that! Just protection from extortion/retaliation.— DHH (@dhh) February 15, 2021
In August, popular battle-royal title Fortnite was removed from the App Store and Play Store after the developer Epic Games introduced its own payment system which bypassed the 30% fee cut by the app stores. According to Sensor Tower, Fortnite’s removal has left a $1.2 billion opening in the battle-royale market.
Epic clapped back by filing an injunction to prevent Apple and Google from removing Fortnite and also hosted the #FreeFortnite tournament with anti-Apple prizes. Meanwhile, Apple also filed a countersuit against Epic over breach of contract.
In September, Epic, Basecamp, Tinder-maker Match Group which recently acquired Hyperconnect for $1.7 billion, Spotify and several Apple critics formed the ‘Coalition for App Fairness’ to fight against the App Store policies.
During the same month, Google announced that 97% of developers already use Google’s billing system and the remaining 3% will be required to comply within a year.
In November, Apple announced that it lowered the 30% fee to 15% for developers who earn less than $1 million a year.
According to Sensor Tower, mobile users spent over $13 billion in Top 10 subscription-based apps in 2020.