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Proposed North Dakota Bill Could Force Apple To Use Alternative App Stores

 |  February 10, 2021

A new bill introduced in the North Dakota Senate might have far-reaching consequences for app store operators. The bill, Senate Bill 2333, seeks to ban stores like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store from mandating developers only use those app stores and their respective in-app payment systems. It also bans retaliation against developers in the event they choose an alternative distribution channel or payment system. 

“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 (R-Fargo), who introduced the bill before a Senate committee on Tuesday, told reporters in a press conference yesterday, as reported by The Bismarck Tribune. Davison said the 30 percent fee imposed on app developers who sell software through Apple and Google’s marketplaces has the effect of “raising prices and limiting choices for consumers.”

Proponents of the bill said it addresses concerns of a monopoly by Apple and Google.

“They control so much about what consumers can get, what businesses can do, and it really puts these businesses in a tough position,” said Onsharp President and CEO Joe Sandin, of Fargo. His business develops apps.

DAWA Solutions Group President Jeff Zarling, of Williston, said the app stores have gone beyond distribution in having “injected themselves into every aspect of the revenue-generating model of every business that runs on their app store, in any transaction, anywhere down the line.”

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