North Dakota Proposes Bill Regulating In-App Purchases, Taking a Swing at Apple, Google

State Sen. Kyle Davison of North Dakota introduced Senate Bill 2333 on Tuesday, according to a Bismarck Tribune article by Jack Dura. The proposed legislation seeks to dislodge Google and Apple app store policies, which are viewed by critics to be monopolistic. 

The bill is also and ostensibly a reaction to the 30% fee charged by Apple and Google for in-app purchases, which Sen. Davison reportedly said punishes small app developers “by raising prices and limiting choices for consumers.”

The bill would reportedly prohibit app stores from mandating that app developers exclusively use their store and payment system. It would also make retaliation illegal and open violators up to liability. Speaking about the bill Sen. Davison remarked that, its purpose “is to level the playing field for app developers in North Dakota and protect customers from devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies.” 

According to the Bismarck Tribune, proponents of the bill contend that it addresses concerns raised by Apple’s and Google’s app store dominance, echoing those brought by Epic Games, Inc. in a pair of lawsuits filed last year. On the other hand, opponents argue that the bill would constitute government interference with private contracts.

The news outlet reported that Apple Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander told the North Dakota Senate’s Business and Labor Committee that SB 2333 “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it” by mandating changes which would reportedly “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design.”

The committee purportedly took no immediate action on the bill. Chairman Sen. Jerry Klein commented that “there’s still some mulling to be done,” the Bismarck Tribune reported.