A new bill in the US state of North Dakota proposes to make it illegal for Apple, Google and other app distribution platforms to exercise monopolies within their own ecosystems.
The bill, reported by The Verge, would force Apple to either stop selling iPhones in the state, or start allowing customers to install software from sources other than the official App Store. If passed it would likely have far-reaching consequences elsewhere, since it would oblige Apple to make changes at a platform level.
In addition, the law would prohibit app stores from requiring developers to use the in-app purchase system, or retaliating against devs who choose to use another store or payment system.
Apple privacy manager Erik Neuenschwander has testified against the bill, saying it “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it” and would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design”.
Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hansson, on the other hand, has testified in favour of the law and writes on Twitter that it is “the first real, concrete legislative proposal I’ve seen that actually gives me hope that tech monopolies aren’t going to rule the world forever”.
I’ll be testifying remotely today before the North Dakota State Senate in support of an amazing bill ensuring that software developers cannot be coerced into using app store payment processing or face retaliation if they refuse. This is what we need 😍 https://t.co/mzdU1y9LfK
— DHH (@dhh)
February 9, 2021
Hansson has history in this area, and has criticised Apple’s governance of the App Store before; he was involved in a rancorous and widely publicised dispute over the Hey email app in summer 2020. That came at a time when numerous industry figures were attacking Apple for its imbalanced relationship with software developers.
This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.