In win for Apple, North Dakota votes down bill that would have regulated app stores

Bill Mount

A North Dakota bill that would have mandated app stores allow software developers to implement their own payment processing tools was shut down in the state Senate Tuesday. The chamber voted by a 36-11 margin to scrap the bill in a win for tech giants such as Apple and Google […]

A North Dakota bill that would have mandated app stores allow software developers to implement their own payment processing tools was shut down in the state Senate Tuesday.

The chamber voted by a 36-11 margin to scrap the bill in a win for tech giants such as Apple and Google that would’ve seen some of their fees bypassed had the bill become law.

The now-dead North Dakota legislation was the first to be introduced in any state legislature that addressed the app stores of the tech titans. Had it ultimately become law, it could have sparked similar bills in other states. 

Apple and Google receive fees from purchases of apps from their stores.

The shot-down legislation in North Dakota would have specifically mandated that companies whose app stores deliver them over $10 million per year offer different payment methods for app store purchases that would have allowed developers to keep the fees usually provided to the companies. The bill’s parameters would have essentially impacted just Apple and Google.

Apple had come out hard against the bill, saying it would hurt their products and that no consumers were forced to buy their phones with their app stores. 

“Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; Senate Bill 2333 could require us to let them in,” Apple official Erik Neuenschwander testified last week. “For a store owner, that would be like the government forcing you to stock your shelves with products you know lack in quality, authenticity, or even safety.”

The vote comes as Apple and Google face increased scrutiny over their business practices, including over policies critics say box out competitors and create monopolies for online ads and software distribution.

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