It’s still unclear how involved Epic Games was with the bill.
What you need to know
- The North Dakota bill that would have impacted the App Store has failed in the state Senate.
- The bill would have stopped requiring developers to use the App Store and Apple’s payment system.
As reported by CNET, the bill in North Dakota that would have caused major shifts for Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store has failed. According to the report, bill SB 2333 was voted down by North Dakota’s state Senate with a final vote tally of 11 to 36.
The bill, which was supported quite publicly by Epic Games (who is already suing Apple for its App Store practices), would have stopped Apple and Google from requiring developers to use their respective app stores and payment systems. The lobbyist who authored a draft of the bill was reportedly hired by Epic Games.
While North Dakota isn’t often the center of tech intrigue, the bill appears to be the latest volley in an ongoing battle between Apple and Fortnite publisher Epic Games. State Sen. Kyle Davison reportedly introduced the bill after being given a draft version by a lobbyist with Odney Public Affairs. In a report from The New York Times on Sunday, the lobbyist confirmed she was hired by Epic Games, and also was being paid by the Coalition for App Fairness.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to support the bill but pushed back against the idea that Epic was closely involved.
North Dakota’s effort to combat app store monopolies is awesome for consumers and developers. The Coalition for App Fairness organized the outreach, lobbying, and developer participation. Can’t take credit for it, but Epic is proud to be a part of it!https://t.co/Zi0iDMpkaz
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) February 16, 2021
Apple had fought against the bill, saying that its changes would “destroy the iPhone as you know it.”
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.
According to the report, Apple and Epic did not respond to a request for comment and Google declined altogether.
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