Bill enabling developers to avoid in-app purchase rules is ditched

Bill enabling developers to avoid in-app purchase rules is ditched
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

A bill in Arizona that would have enabled developers to avoid the in-app purchase (IAP) rules set by app stores has been ditched.

Many developers have argued for some time that Apple and Google have abused their market dominance to set unfair rules. State bill HB2005 would have forced Apple and Google to allow developers to use their own payment solutions within apps.

The bill was scrapped after intense lobbying. 

According to State Representative Regina Cobb, Apple and Google “hired almost every lobbyist in town,” and Senate members who previously agreed to support the bill began to reconsider their position. The sudden loss of support caused the bill to be dropped at the last minute and it’s not expected to be heard again for at least a year.

Apple has been the focus of much of these efforts due to the tight grip it holds over the iOS ecosystem, which it claims to do so primarily for security purposes. Cupertino has described the bill as having the potential to “destroy the iPhone as you know it”.

While unpopular and officially recommended against, Google does at least allow third-party app stores to be installed on Android devices.

A similar bill to HB2005 was also defeated in North Dakota. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are mulling similar laws.

The bills are supported by the Coalition for App Fairness, a group with around 50 members including companies with open and long-running disputes about the policies such as Epic Games, Spotify, Basecamp, and Tile.

“The 30 percent rate is still highway robbery, as Congressman Cicilline recently said in an interview, but the fundamental problem for us is the lack of choice,” wrote Basecamp CEO Jason Fried in a letter last year.

“And Phil Schiller’s suggestion that we should raise prices on iOS customers to make up for Apple’s added margin is antitrust gold.”

During an antitrust hearing, Microsoft president Brad Smith argued that the App Store impedes competition far more today than when his company was found guilty of antitrust practices back in 2001.

Likely in response to the increasing pressure, Apple introduced the Small Business Program late last year which enables any developer earning under $1 million in sales per year to keep more of their revenue by Cupertino taking a 15 percent cut instead of the usual 30 percent. An analysis estimates that around 98 percent of developers qualify for the program.

(Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash)

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