Arizona wants to limit the power of Apple and Google over their app store

The US state is in the process of adopting a law that would allow developers to offer a different payment system in their applications from that of the two giants.

The Arizona House of Representatives voted Wednesday, March 3 in favor of a law that, if it comes into force, would allow app publishers to avoid the commissions harvested by Apple and Google. A subject of dispute between tech giants and developers.

“The fact that the law has been passed (by the deputies) is proof that there is a growing desire to contain corporate power in the «Big Tech» which govern key sectors of commerce ”, reacted in a press release Pat Garofalo of the American Economic Liberties Project, an anti-monopoly association.

There is still a long way to go: the bill must be discussed and approved in the Senate and then signed by the governor, who can veto. Apple and Google could then challenge it in court.

“Avoid the 30% tax”

With a narrow majority, 31 votes “YesAgainst 29, the law received strong opposition from Democrats. The group refusing to decide on a case already open at the federal level: the lawsuit opposing the studio Epic Games to Apple.

Tim Sweeney, co-founder of the studio behind Fortnite, wants to end the commission system: “If each developer could accept their own payments and avoid the 30% tax imposed by Apple and Google, we could pass the savings on to all of our consumers and gamers. He explained to the US Congress last year.

It is his company which, the first, tried to stand up against the system, proposing on August 13, 2020 to its users to pay 20% less expensive the “V-Bucks», The internal currency of the game, if the players did not go through Apple or Google.

Only a few hours later, Fortnite was withdrawn from Apple and Google stores. There followed an immediate reaction from Epic Games, which filed two separate lawsuits against Apple and Google for antitrust behavior, in the District Court of California. This is not the only complaint, the publisher of Fortnite announced last February that it had filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission. He denounces an abuse of a dominant position in the distribution and payment systems of mobile applications.

On the side of the two incriminated companies, the narrative is quite different, we fear a collapse of the economic system. “This law is the government ordering Apple to donate the App Store”, argued Kyle Andeer, a senior Apple official, in a hearing before Arizona officials last week. The Cupertino company keeps repeating to its detractors that these fees are necessary for the proper functioning of the app download platform, in particular to ensure the security of payments.

Apple made a gesture towards small publishers last November, by reducing its margins. For apps with less than $ 1 million in revenue per year, the commission drops from 30% to 15%. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy“, Justified Tim Cook.