North Dakota Senate Rejects Bill That Would Require Alternative App Stores

Kate Cox, Ars Technica:

The North Dakota state Senate is jumping into a simmering feud between Apple and iOS software developers with a bill that would make it illegal for device makers to require to use their app stores and payment systems.

The bill (PDF) has two main prongs. First, it would make it unlawful for companies such as Google and Apple to make their app stores the “exclusive means” of distributing apps on their platforms. Second, it would prohibit those providers from requiring third parties to use their digital transaction or in-app payment systems in their applications.

Jack Dura, the Bismarck Tribune:

Apple Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander told the committee the bill “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it” by mandating changes which he said would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design.”

“Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; (the bill) could require us to let them in,” he said.

Michael Tsai:

This argument basically assumes that it’s App Review, not iOS’s security features, that’s protecting users. Yet we have numerous examples of the App Store failing to do so, while at the same time mistakenly blocking good apps and developers. This happens both because the review process doesn’t scale and because it’s technically impossible to completely review how an app will behave. People definitely have more confidence installing software from an app store, but it’s mostly false confidence. Decades of experience with platforms like the Mac and Android that allow sideloading show that a more open approach works just fine. macOS’s anti-malware features have never been better.

Kif Leswing, CNBC:

The North Dakota state senate voted 36-11 on Tuesday not to pass a bill that would have required app stores to enable software developers to use their own payment processing software and avoid fees charged by Apple and Google.

If this bill had passed, what do you think Apple would have done?

  1. Stop offering products and services in North Dakota

  2. Construct an entirely separate iOS and App Store model for the citizens of North Dakota

  3. Upend its entire App Store business model

I know there are some developers who think the second and third options are likely, but North Dakota has less than a million residents. I think Apple could afford to forego Fargo.