Illinois latest state to try and legislate against Apple's App Store

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Illinois is trying to legislate against Apple's App Store.
  • The new Freedom to Subscribe Directly act wants to rewrite Apple and Google's ecosystem.
  • Specifically, it wants to ban requirements that developers use their own in-app payment methods.

A new Illinois bill called the Freedom to Subscribe Directly App wants to put an end to Apple and Google's requirement that developers must use platforms' own in-app payment methods.

The new bill was filed Tuesday and states:

Creates the Freedom to Subscribe Directly Act. Provides that a provider of a digital application distribution platform for which cumulative downloads of software applications from the digital application distribution platform to Illinois users exceed 1,000,000 downloads in the previous or current calendar year may not: (i) require a software application developer that is domiciled in the State to use a particular in-application payment system as the exclusive mode of accepting payments from a user for software application downloads or digital purchases; (ii) require use of a particular in-application payment system for accepting payments from Illinois users to download a software application or purchase a digital or physical copy; or (iii) retaliate against a developer that is domiciled in the State or an Illinois user for using an in-application payment system or digital application distribution platform that is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the provider. Exempts special-purpose digital application distribution platforms from the Act. Provides that the Attorney General may receive complaints and investigate violations of the Act. Provides that any person aggrieved by a violation of the Act may commence a civil action. Defines terms.

The bill not only seeks to prevent requirements such as those used by Apple that state all developers must use in-app payments if they want to, but it also wants to put an end to any perceived retaliation. Staunch App Store opponent David Heinemeier-Hansson, founder and CTO of Basecamp told WGEM Apple demanded we sell our new service through their payment processor, so they could take their 30% cut, or we'd be thrown out of the app store. Basecamp might have among the few companies willing to speak up but we are far from the only ones dealing with these oppressive regimes."

A similar bill, also backed by the Basecamp chief, fizzled out early in 2021 in Arizona without explanation. Apple is facing strong legal pressure around the world to undo some of the fundamental aspects of its business model with regard to the iPhone and its iOS App Store. Apple warned that a new Senate antitrust bill being proposed will expose iPhone users to major security and privacy issues.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

1 Comment
  • Be careful what you wish for. Apple's 30% is not a payment processing fee. It is Apple's cut for providing the store, vetting the apps, supporting the infrastructure, advertising, etc. For a brick and mortar store the merchant cut is paying for the building, maintaining the utilities, paying the employees, stocking the shelves, advertising...not just collecting money. Going through Apple's payment processing is just a convenient way of collecting that fee. In many cases you can already download an app for free, and pay for functionality outside the store. You can get a Netflix, YouTube, HBO account outside the store and log into the app with your credentials. You can get an Adobe subscription from Adobe, and log in with your credentials. Apple and Google will collect their operating fees another way, if developers insist on paying the transaction fee to PayPal, Square, or whoever. They'll just start charging for server space monthly, and bandwidth by download.