Apple and Google are both lobbying heavily against legislation being considered by the Arizona Senate that would allow developers to use another in-app purchase option other than the Apple and Google App Stores’ standard in-app purchase system.
Protocol reports that Apple has been working to defeat the bill since last month. Apple lobbyist Rob Didiron began working against the legislation before it had been formally introduced. Apple has also sent additional lobbyists as well as lawyers to Arizona.
Apple joined the Arizona Chamber of Commerce in lobbying against the bill. Lawyers for both Google and Apple have gone straight to the Arizona House’s lawyers to argue that the bill is unconstitutional.
“We went through a very difficult weekend where Apple and Google hired probably almost every lobbyist in town,” said Arizona State Representative Regina Cobb, who created HB2005.
The two tech giants are fighting HB2005, an amendment to a 2005 Arizona bill, which is designed to allow app developers to use third-party payment options. If this is allowed, developers would be able to avoid paying the 15% to 30% cut of the action that Apple takes from app purchases and in-app payments.
Cobb introduced the bill after being approached by lobbyist Ryan O’Daniel, who represents the Coalition for App Fairness. The coalition was formed in September 2020 by Epic Games, Spotify, Tile, Blix, and other developers, all that have had issues with Apple’s App Store commissions in the past.
Apple’s chief compliance officer Kyle Andeer has called HB2005 a “government mandate that Apple give away the App Store.”
“This would allow billion-dollar developers to take all of the app store’s value for free, even if they’re selling digital goods, even if they’re making millions or billions of dollars doing it. The bill is a government mandate that Apple give away the app store.”
Apple in February successfully fought against a similar bill in North Dakota that would have forced Apple to allow third-party payment options. That bill was also backed by the Coalition for App Fairness.
HB2005’s future is uncertain. The bill is facing opposition from Democrats in the Arizona Senate, who don’t believe that the state legislature should interfere with ongoing litigation, such as the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games. Cobb is scheduled to meet with Apple executives later this week, to “negotiate the contours of the bill.”