Apple hiring local guns for Arizona showdown

From Sebastian Herrera and Dan Frosch's "Why the Next Big-Tech Fights Are in State Capitals" in Monday's Wall Street Journal:

Tech companies are turning their attention to statehouses across the country as a wave of local bills opens a new frontier in the push to limit Silicon Valley’s power...

Google, Apple and others are hiring local lobbyists and immersing themselves in the minutiae of proposed legislation, according to state representatives...

In Arizona, a closely watched bill regarding app-store payments has cleared the state House and is expected to be debated in the Senate in the next several weeks. The legislation would free some software developers from fees that Apple and Google place on apps, which can run up to 30% of sales from paid apps and in-app purchases. App developers would be able to charge people directly through the payment system of their choice. The bill would apply to Arizona-based app developers and consumers yet could set a wider precedent.

Republican state Rep. Regina Cobb, the legislation’s chief sponsor, said the bill is about “consumer protection and transparency,” and said a final vote could take place within the next month. Ms. Cobb said she believes there are sufficient votes to pass the bill in the narrowly divided Senate. Apple and Google have lobbied heavily against the bill, Ms. Cobb said.

My take: As the Journal suggests, what happens in Arizona could ricochet to other venues. See Florian Muller: The end of Apple’s App Store ‘tyranny’ is in sight

7 Comments

  1. Dave Ryder said:
    I suspect Apple has a plan “B” and probably a plan “C” too. By which I mean that Apple could find other ways to be compensated for their platform, developer tools and support, serving up apps, and so on.

    2
    March 15, 2021
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Hm, the wild west imagery makes sense.

    With Apple and Google marginalized as custodians, who will set the rules, the safety, the fees, etc.? Does Regina propose to let anyone setup their own “App Store” on any platform? Does her legislation apply only to mobile OS’s and no other digital platforms?

    So far, I’m not impressed with regulation of phone and wireless, with obscure fees, stealthy rate increases, etc. Whether you’re from TX or CA, both have done a terrible job regulating electric power.

    Disclosure: I’m a liberal and pro-regulation; And also aware that government regulation is far from perfect. So far, Apple’s and Google’s self regulation seems pretty good.

    3
    March 15, 2021
  3. Thomas Larkin said:
    We’ve now added yet another level of complexity and stupidity to this ever growing fuster cluck. Are there more pushes in yet more venues to come? Multiple court battles for many years to come? It seems obvious to me that this is intertwined in interstate commerce to such an extent that the only rational approach would be a national one.

    0
    March 15, 2021
    • David Drinkwater said:
      Or we could privatize Apple. No, wait, … um …

      You mean to say that, if Apple is the point of sale, they can’t set the rules in their own house?

      (This is genuinely rhetorical.)

      0
      March 15, 2021
  4. Bart Yee said:
    IIRC, most of this legislation has been written and pushed to legislators by lobbyists from EPIC and others seeking an end around past the direct Epic – Apple lawsuits and any precedents that may set. Each of these state house legislation approaches SPECIFICALLY carve out exceptions for video game and console type game stores (of which Epic operates to its own benefit) but attack the smartphone platform makers’ App Store management.

    As always, IMO it’s about the money for Epic and security and freedom from malware be damned. Of course, in America everyone has the freedom to do dumb things like buying apps from 3rd party Android app stores or side loading inverted apps on Android devices – see where that has gone. No thank you. If iOS app developers now want to take responsibility for their own app’s security, for the security of any 3rd party App Store they sign on with, or for having to scrub their reputation should their app become part of a malware attack on Apple users, then feel free to seek short term $$ gain for potential long term liability – that’s the capitalistic way. BTW, shouldn’t Apple then charge more $$$$$ upfront for all the developer tools and testing and vetting instead?

    2
    March 15, 2021
  5. Greg Lippert said:
    If passed and companies are allowed to use an alternate payment platform then they should pay rent for storefront space. Maybe a lot of rent. And no in-app purchase.

    3
    March 15, 2021
  6. Steven Philips said:
    Give developers an alternative? BUY an app store listing (price TBD) and just give a redirect to the developer. No rating. No processing. And a caveat added that you purchase at your own risk. NO guarantee from Apple.

    2
    March 15, 2021

Leave a Reply