Recently, Apple thanked its lucky stars when North Dakota rejected a bill that would have forced the company to allow 3rd party payment processes for apps on the App Store. The goal of the bill is to allow companies to bypass Apple’s 15%-30% commission fee (as Epic Games did in August, without permission) for all apps and transactions on the platform.
Apple has always strictly filtered which apps are allowed in its store, in addition to the commission that developers call “highway robbery.” Passing this bill would give small businesses a much better chance of survival, especially during the pandemic. However, the victory in North Dakota was only a small battle, and Apple’s fight is far from over.
Not long after, Minnesota introduced a similar bill, which Apple is currently lobbying against as well. And now Apple has expanded its efforts to Arizona – which hadn’t even officially introduced the bill before Apple came at them with torches and pitchforks.
Apple and Google know full well that if these bills pass, they will lose billions of dollars that their duopoly has guaranteed them up to this point. According to them, these bills are “unconstitutional,” and Regina Cobb (the Arizona State Representative who introduced the bill) claims she is facing a non-stop assault from Apple and Google’s plethora of hired lobbyists over the past two weeks, as well as free market groups and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
Apple may be putting everything into fighting these little battles now, bill by bill, state by state, but the decisive battle comes in May when the case between Epic Games and Apple goes to court. If Minnesota and Arizona end up passing the bill, there’s a chance that this (and the resulting reactions) could influence the court’s decision, but that’s not certain at this point. Although much of the world hopes for a future with a freer market, the North Dakota Senate voted against the bill by a lopsided 36:11 ratio – so nothing is certain, and Apple certainly won’t stop fighting tooth and nail to keep its multi-billion dollar app revenue from being reduced.
Apple spotted fighting Arizona antitrust law