In a close vote, Arizona House passes bill that goes after the Apple and Google app stores

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The bill was approved, 31-29.
  • It could change how those in Arizona pay for apps.
  • Apple strongly opposes the bill.

In a vote viewed as a setback to Apple, the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 31-29 to pass a bill that could change how buyers pay for apps.

According to CNBC, the legislation, which still has challenges ahead before it becomes law, requires app stores to allow app makers to use their own payment processing software for transactions.

Heavily pushed by the Coalition for App Fairness and strongly opposed by Apple and Google, HB 2005 targets the fees associated with the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively. Though the bill doesn't specifically target any companies, it's clear those two companies have the most to lose if it becomes law.

Currently, both companies charge developers up to 30% on every app purchase. Under the bill, developers could offer alternative payment processors — at least in the state of Arizona. A similar bill that Apple also opposed was defeated in North Dakota earlier this year.

According to Arizona State Rep. Regina Cobb (R), who sponsored the bill, "I think they have a monopoly on the market right now. There isn't anybody in here that doesn't have a Google Android or Apple phone, I guarantee it."

Arizona State Rep. Diego Rodriguez (D), who opposed the bill, said, "Arizona does not have an interest in this fight. We don't have a dog in this fight, what we need to do is be focused on policies that are protecting consumers. This bill does not protect consumers, it protects a $1 billion company from another billion-dollar company."

It will soon be the Arizona Senate's turn to look at the bill. If approved there, it will go to Arizona Gov. Dough Ducey (R) for his signature or veto.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

  • Excellent. It's time to stop these bullies from taking people's lunch money. Fight the power.
  • They aren't taking anyone's lunch money. They charge a percentage to let developers sell their apps in a store that Apple/Google maintain. That's the infrastructure, advertising, triage for malevolent apps, methodology for update delivery and everything else. Allowing, or mandating, an alternative payment processing system requires Apple/Google to provide all the store services for free. That's unsustainable. If you as a developer think you need $1 for your app, set the price at $1.30 and you get your buck. Simple as that. If you consider a regular retail environment nobody gets to set up a table in an existing store, with their own cash register and sell their merchandise. Try it sometime at your local grocery store. Bring in a basket of stuff you grew in your yard and try to set up a table and sell it.
  • Apple is using its monopoly power to charge an outrageous, 30% vig. And to charge at every turn, for every service. It's greedy. Stop being an apologist. Fight the power.
  • Apple is NOT a monopoly. Learn what the word means before you throw it around. Hint: When you have 30% market share, you are NOT a monopoly. Fight the ignorance.
  • One could argue that ios and Android are collectively a duopoly (in today's world, a power greater than all the gods). As for ios itself, there is only 1 power. Much like the internet, we need service neutrality in the app world. Stop covering for the man.
  • LOL, "covering for the man". Good one. If people didn't like iPhones or their App Store, no one would buy iPhones. For proof, look at how Windows phones failed. They failed because they sucked. The fact is, developers make 80% of their money from Apple's App Store. Android - with its VASTLY higher market share - accounts for 20%. Stop being a mindless tool. No one is forced to buy iPhones. No one is forced to write apps for iPhones. People do both because they WANT to. Government stepping in to "right this wrong" is stupid and not needed. LET PEOPLE DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES. I realize that governments always think they know what is best for everyone. But governments are run by people who can't get any other job. That they think they know how ANY business should be run is absurd and pathetic.
  • Stop the name-calling. It's hateful and unbecoming. No one is arguing for govt to decide. It's all about Apple having excessive control, and devolopers having more control of their creations and hard work. Apple's 30% take is similar to the mob's "protection" money.
  • Vig, mob money, that is rediculous. Apple and Google provide a service and charge a fee for it, just like any other reseller or venue. Every retail store takes a cut of what they sell, and the manufacturer (developer) typically doesn't get anywhere near 70%. Even Farmers markets and flea markets charge you to sell at their venues. Why would you think Apple and Google should host and mange their stores for nothing?
  • The issue is that there are 2 players with absolute power, and developers are not able to negotiate a fee. They can pay 30% to Apple or 30% to Google (coincidence?). They have ALL the power. I'm shocked to see people rationalize this.
  • What makes you think 30% is outrageous? Do you run a software store and have intimate knowledge of the costs involved? If you make a tangible product, table, chairs, lamp, bedsheet, and sell it at Sears, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walmart, I guarantee you aren't getting 70% of the price. If you are a musician are you getting 70% of the cost a consumer pays for your record? 70% to the developer, or the developer's company really, doesn't seem out of line, especially when companies like EPIC have established billion dollar businesses on that 70%. Wonder what they pay the folks that actually do the work.
  • "If you as a developer think you need $1 for your app, set the price at $1.30 and you get your buck. " Um, no. 30% of $1.30 is 39 cents. That leaves you with 91 cents. $1.43 works better. "Simple as that." Simple indeed.
  • The point was made. Charge what will get you what you think you need, given the cost of business is clearly defined.