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      North Dakota lawmakers jump into Apple/Epic fight with new app store bill

      Kate Cox · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 16 February, 2021 - 19:48 · 1 minute

    North Dakota

    Enlarge / North Dakota's capitol, in Bismarck, features convenient floral labeling. (credit: pabradyphoto | Getty Images )

    The North Dakota state Senate is jumping into a simmering feud between Apple and iOS software developers with a bill that would make it illegal for device makers to require to use their app stores and payment systems.

    The bill ( PDF ) has two main prongs. First, it would make it unlawful for companies such as Google and Apple to make their app stores the "exclusive means" of distributing apps on their platforms. Second, it would prohibit those providers from requiring third parties to use their digital transaction or in-app payment systems in their applications.

    The proposed law applies to app stores for which gross sales receipts to North Dakota residents exceed $10 million in a calendar year. It applies to any "general-purpose hardware," including tablets and smartphones, but it explicitly excludes "special-purpose digital application distribution platforms" such as gaming consoles, music players, and "other special-purpose devices connected to the internet." Thread that needle, and you're left with a pretty firm arrow pointing directly at Google's and Apple's mobile app platforms. (It could also apply to the Mac OS and Windows app stores for laptop and desktop computers, but those platforms are already less restrictive.)

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