In an attack from a surprise corner, Apple may be forced to open up the iPhone by North Dakota law-makers, if Senate Bill 2333 is passed.

The bill would force Apple to allow developers to use alternate app stores on their phones, and also force them to allow developers to bypass Apple Pay and use their own payment methods.

The exact proposal, introduced by Sen. Kyle Davison (R-Fargo), reads as below:

  1. “Require a developer to use a digital application distribution platform or digital transaction platform as the exclusive mode of distributing a digital product.”
  2. “Require a developer to use an in-application payment system as the exclusive mode of accepting payment from a user to download a software application or purchase a digital or physical product through a software application.”
  3. “Retaliate against a developer for choosing to use an alternative application store or in-application payment system.”

Apple’s chief privacy engineer, Erik Neuenschwander has already testified against the bill, saying it “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it” and that it would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design,” according to the Bismarck Tribune. “Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; (the bill) could require us to let them in.”

Sen. Davison, however, said “The purpose of the bill is to level the playing field for app developers in North Dakota and protect customers from devastating, monopolistic fees imposed by big tech companies,” saying the 30 per cent fee imposed on app developers who sell software through Apple and Google’s marketplaces has the effect of “raising prices and limiting choices for consumers.”

The bill would only affect North Dakota, but any digital distribution service with more than $10 million in revenue would be affected, which would include most large closed platforms such as the Xbox and Playstation store, so it would be interesting to see how wide-ranging the impact is.

via the verge

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