As of January first, Apple cut its app store fee in half from 30% to 15% for about 98% of its developers with sales under $1 million annually. Only the mega developers like Spotify and Epic games will remain on the original payment schedule of 30%. Apple CEO Tim Cook cast the fee reductions as a mutually beneficial move everyone involved. In a statement, Cook stated that "We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the app store."
Yet for North Dakota, that's just not good enough. A new bill introduced in the North Dakota Senate might have far-reaching consequences for app store operators. The bill, Senate Bill 2333, seeks to ban stores like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store from mandating developers only use those app stores and their respective in-app payment systems. It also bans retaliation against developers in the event they choose an alternative distribution channel or payment system.
Apple has already testified against North Dakota’s new bill in a hearing on Tuesday with North Dakota’s Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee. Apple’s Erik Neuenschwander, its chief privacy engineer, told the committee the bill "threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it" and that it would "undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design," according to the Bismarck Tribune. "Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; (the bill) could require us to let them in." for more on this, read the full report by The Verge.
It would have been interesting to know which tech companies are behind this legislation. Unfortunately The Verge didn't present that side of the story.
While it's too early to overly speculate as to what Apple will do if this bill is passed, it's a little difficult to imagine Apple willing to change it's entire platform due to one of the smallest States (ranked 47th in population) demanding it. Without a doubt, the App Store is likely to be one of Apple's biggest political issues for 2021.