Apple Privacy Chief: North Dakota Bill 'Threatens to Destroy the iPhone as You Know It'

The North Dakota Senate this week introduced a new bill that would prevent Apple and Google from requiring developers to use their respective app stores and payment methods, paving the way for alternative app store options, reports The Bismarck Tribune.

appstore
According to Senator Kyle Davison, who introduced Senate Bill 2333 yesterday, the legislation is designed to "level the playing field" for app developers in North Dakota and shield customers from "devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies," which refers to the cut that Apple and Google take from developers.

Specifically, the bill would prevent Apple from requiring a developer to use a digital application distribution platform as the exclusive mode of distributing a digital product, and it would keep the company from requiring developers to use in-app purchases as the exclusive mode of accepting payment from a user. There's also wording preventing Apple from retaliating against developers who choose alternate distribution and payment methods.

Apple Chief Privacy Engineer Erik Neuenschwander spoke out against the bill, saying that it "threatens to destroy the iPhone as you know it" by requiring changes that would "undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance" of the ‌iPhone‌.

Neuenschwander said that Apple "works hard" to keep bad apps from the App Store, and North Dakota's bill would "require us to let them in."

Apple does not allow apps to be installed on iOS devices outside of the ‌App Store‌ and there are no alternate app store options that are available. Apple reviews every app that is made available for its customers to download, something that would not happen with a third-party app store option.

Apple also does not let app developers accept payments through methods other than in-app purchase except in select situations, a policy that has led to Apple's legal fight with Epic Games. ‌Epic Games‌ added an alternate payment method to Fortnite last year, leading the app to be banned from the ‌App Store‌.

Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson, who was also embroiled in a legal fight with Apple over email app "HEY" last year, testified in favor of SB 2333 and said that it gives him hope that "tech monopolies aren't going to rule the world forever."


In 2020, Apple faced a U.S. antitrust inquiry into its ‌App Store‌ fees and policies, which resulted in a 450 page report calling for new antitrust laws focused on promoting fair competition in digital markets, strengthening laws related to mergers and monopolization, and restoring vigorous oversight and enforcement of antitrust law.

No federal legislation has been introduced as of yet, and the North Dakota Senate committee did not take action on the bill. Senator Jerry Klein said that there's "still some mulling to be done" in reference to the bill.

Top Rated Comments

CyberBob859 Avatar
8 months ago
Why doesn't anybody ask users what they want? I specifically chose the iPhone because it is locked down. If I want the ability to side-load, use secondary app stores, and alternative payment methods, I'll go to Android.
Score: 72 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nicolas_s Avatar
8 months ago
I'm ok with that, as long as people who install alternative stores promise not to complain if anything goes wrong with these unverified apps.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Caliber26 Avatar
8 months ago

I understand the need for secure app stores but shouldn’t we be able to install software as we please ? And I’m not speaking for pirated apps — that’s a whole other discussion.
Agreed. I love the App Store but I wouldn’t be opposed to having the option of installing apps that aren’t available/allowed in the App Store. If it’s acceptable for macOS it should be the same for iOS, and especially for iPadOS.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Seoras Avatar
8 months ago
The consumers aren't asking for this but someone is driving it hard.
I found myself, only yesterday after cleaning a trojan from a Mac, explaining to its owner why the App Store is essential.
You need a gateway to the software you install on your device that gives you confidence that what you are installing doesn't come with more than what you expect. Either malware or spyware that wants to profile you and sell your data.
I, as an iPhone user, don't want my iPhone cracked open to all.
If Apple is forced to do this I hope they implement it as an option to the user when they setup their new device.
Just how many will say "no thanks" I predict to be the same as how many have also choosen "no" to "track me".
That's democracy.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
steevn Avatar
8 months ago
State with zero Apple store locations trying to regulate Apple products......

are they doing this with TV manufacturers also? You can’t install anything outside of their own store options either.

Don’t buy an iPhone if you don’t want to use the App Store.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wlossw Avatar
8 months ago
It's going to be super fun when residents of North Dakota can't buy iPhones anymore...
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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