Lobbyists working for Epic Games and the Coalition for App Fairness are pushing a bill in the North Dakota senate that would force Apple to open up the App Store. Senate Bill 2333, as reported by The New York Times and Kotaku, would stipulate that users in the state could download apps from third-party storefronts and use untrusted payment processors. The law would also prevent platforms from retaliating “against a developer for choosing to use an alternative application store or in-application payment system.” In testimony, Apple's Erik Neuenschwander said that the law "threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it."
Naturally, there seems to be something a little off about companies drafting laws that benefit themselves and disadvantage their competition. Especially since Epic Games is currently embroiled in lawsuits against both Apple and Google after the app was pulled from both stores.If you’re unfamiliar, Epic added a way to buy V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency, through its own storefront. Apple and Google both said that the move violated the terms of the developer agreement its signed, and asked it to stop. When it didn’t, both platforms subsequently removed the game from their storefronts, which Epic described as a “retaliation.”
It’s not clear if the bill has sufficient support to pass but the news marks a new chapter in the war between Epic and its rival app stores.
Updated Feb 16th, 16:00pm ET: An Epic spokesperson has denied the earlier reports, saying that it issued statements in support of the bill, but is not directly involved.