Last week we heard Apple’s take on a new North Dakota Senate bill that would have forced the company to allow iPhone owners to sideload apps and use alternative in-app payment options. Just today, the state’s senate has voted down the proposal but similar legislation is under consideration in Arizona and Georgia. It’s also come to light where the North Dakota bill draft legislation came from – a Coalition for App Fairness lobbyist.
The New York Times’ Jack Nicas shared the update on Twitter today (original story here). Before North Dakota voted down the bill, Apple last week said that if passed it could “destroy the iPhone.”
Update 2/17: The Coalition for App Fairness and Epic added a statement on the involvement in the process:
Epic supported the North Dakota bill with this testimony but that’s the extent of our role in the process. Lacee Anderson represented Epic to formally submit the testimony. The Coalition for App Fairness took the lead on organizing app developer support for the bill.
And an interesting detail surfaced about where the draft legislation for this North Dakota bill came from.
Mr. Davison said he had been given the draft legislation by Lacee Bjork Anderson, a lobbyist with Odney Public Affairs in Bismarck. Ms. Anderson said in an interview that she had been hired by Epic Games, the maker of the popular game Fortnite and the plaintiff in lawsuits against Apple and Google over their app policies. She said she was also being paid by the Coalition for App Fairness, a group of firms, including Epic, Spotify and Match Group, that has protested app commissions and is leading the push for app-store bills.
The Coalition for App Fairness has been ramping up its efforts against Apple and Google and gaining members like major US news publications including NYT, NPR, ESPN, and more. The Coalition for App Fairness was founded by Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, and more.
Time will tell what the similar bills in Arizona and Georgia will look like and how state leaders will vote on the potential legislation.
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