North Dakota rejects anti-Apple App Store bill drafted by Epic Games lobbyist

The North Dakota Senate on Tuesday voted down the bill that would’ve banned Apple and Google from taking a cut of app sales from firms in the state, The New York Times‘ Jack Nicas reports via Twitter.

Jack Nicas for The New York Times:

North Dakota rejects anti-Apple App Store bill drafted by Epic Games lobbyist. Image: Apple logoLast month, a lobbyist approached Kyle Davison, a North Dakota state senator, with an unusual proposal: a law to stop Apple and Google from forcing companies in the state to hand over a share of their app sales.

Mr. Davison, a Republican, was focused on bills related to a $200,000 literacy program and birth records for the homeless. But he was intrigued by the lobbyist’s arguments that the tech giants were hurting small businesses, and he thought such a law could attract tech companies to North Dakota. So he introduced it.

“She said to me that this could be big. But to me, that means the local newspaper is going to come with a camera,” Mr. Davison, 60, said. “I would not be truthful if I said I expected the reaction.”

Mr. Davison said he had been given the draft legislation by Lacee Bjork Anderson, a lobbyist with Odney Public Affairs in Bismarck. Ms. Anderson said in an interview that she had been hired by Epic Games, the maker of the popular game Fortnite and the plaintiff in lawsuits against Apple and Google over their app policies. She said she was also being paid by the Coalition for App Fairness, a group of firms, including Epic, Spotify and Match Group, that has protested app commissions and is leading the push for app-store bills.

MacDailyNews Take: Epic Games loses again. (And lobbyists prey upon clueless elected officials, as always.)

Epic Games et al. want to enjoy all of the benefits of Apple’s App Store, including access to well over one billion of the world’s most affluent users for free. That is illogical, unfair, and, basically, theft.

Apple Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander told the [North Dakota Senate Industry, Business and Labor 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. — Jack Dura, The Bismark Tribune, February 9, 2021


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