Apple says a new North Dakota bill could destroy the iPhone as we know it

Staunch App Store critics like Tim Sweeney have lent their support to the move.

What you need to know

  • A new Senate Bill in North Dakota could destroy the iPhone as we know it, according to Apple.
  • Apple has said the bill undermines the privacy, security, safety, and performance that is built into the iPhone by design.
  • Staunch App Store critics like Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney have vocalized support for the move.

A new Senate Bill introduced in North Dakota could destroy the iPhone as we know, according to Apple.

From The Bismarck Tribune:

Proponents of a North Dakota Senate bill say the legislation would clamp down on app stores seen as monopolistic, but opponents see it as interference and potentially harmful.

Sen. Kyle Davison, R-Fargo, on Tuesday introduced Senate Bill 2333 to the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee. The bill would ban app stores such as Apple and Google Play from requiring app developers to exclusively use their app store and payment system, and prohibit retaliating. Violations would be considered an unlawful practice under state law, opening a door to lawsuits.

Davison said the purpose of the bill “is to level the playing field for app developers” in the state and protect customers from “devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies”, referring to the 30% fee charged by Apple and Google on App Store purchases.

Speaking to a committee, Apple’s Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander said the bill “threatens to destroy the iPhone as you know it”, by forcing measures that would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design.” He further stated that Apple “works hard to keep the bad apps out of the App Store” and that the bill could require them to let them in.

Whilst the bill is still being considered, it does have some staunch proponents including Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson.

‘DHH’ described the measure as “an incredible bill” that would bring immediate relief. Testifying to the committee, Hansson said he “spent some time refuting the nonsense and scare tactics propelled by Google’s and Apple’s paid spokespeople”, such as statements that the App Store developers fee is essential and that without it the App Store would run at a loss.

In a separate written statement Hansson stated:

We need a fair digital marketplace free of monopoly abuse as much in Chicago as in Bismarck. And when it comes to the app store duopoly, no single change will have a greater impact than giving small software makers like us a choice when it comes to in-app payment systems, and protection from retaliation, if we refuse the onerous deal the monopolists are offering.

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