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North Dakota votes down bill that would regulate app stores (cnbc.com)
37 points by jmsflknr 5 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments



All this bill would have done is ensure that people in North Dakota no longer have access to various app stores.


Yeah, I kinda feel like Apple would consider "customers in North Dakota" as a small enough number that it'd be more important to them to keep the status quo than keep the customers.

And customers from ND would just get pissed at their elected representatives and pressure them to repeal the law. And in the meantime they'd go to another state to buy their iPhone or iPad or have an out-of-state relative buy it for them and mail it to them.

Unfortunately this kind of law needs to be from a state like CA or NY (or quite a few smaller states) for it to be effective.


It probably wouldn’t have done even that—the bill applied only to companies based in North Dakota, who make over $10 million per year through app stores they run. So, nobody. It was just to get the ball rolling.


The bill is pretty straight forward and can be found here [1]. There are 4 requirements which together fill about half a page. A, C, and D seem entirely reasonable in my opinion.

B is the controversial one.

A provider of a digital application distribution platform may not:

B) Require a developer to use the provider's digital transaction platform or in application payment system as the exclusive means for accepting payment from a user to download the developer's software application, or purchase a digital or physical product or service created, offered, or provided by the developer through a software application.

It seems reasonable that the app store should be able set processing requirements the for apps within the store.

What should be legislated and allowed is the ability of users to download alternative app stores onto their devices if they want to live outside of the walled garden.

https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-1044-...


Sad news, honestly wish more states would or even countries would do something along the lines of this bill.

It's not apples phone after they sell. The user should be able to side load and use it as they see fit. Even if that means installing an other app store.

The payment processing not sure if that would be needed if users were not locked out of their own hardware. Just install the app directly or an other app store that is not as strict with payment processing.


The problem is that you’re right: it’s not Apple’s phone. If you want, you can jailbreak. Apple has no obligation to help you void your warranty (same as cars and every other device). If you want to argue that them not being obliged to help is unfair, why are we singling out Apple here? Have a Right to Repair law instead.


We are singling out Apple here because the point the OP pasted has to do with Apple's walled garden and not allowing payments from browsers since they couldn't collect the ransom.

Right to repair would be great, I am sure Apple has spent millions lobbying against it. Why do you think Apple shouldn't be singled out?


Good. There's enormous value in the walled garden for the people who want it. Some people reasonably want the ability to install any app they want on their devices, and while I wholeheartedly support them and their wishes, I'm not addressing them here.

As an end user, I know knowing that stuff in Apple's App Store is reasonably vetted. It's not perfect, and when mistakes are made we ready about them here. But for the most part if I install an app that says it'll do X, it'll do X while generally not being to upload unrelated data to North Korea. I'm at a stage in life where I'd rather pay someone to make those investigations and decisions for me than invest the time to do it myself. Again, other people strongly feel otherwise, but that's OK!

As a family member, I have to worry a little less about what apps my kids are running, and have to spend a little less time fixing my older relatives' phones when I go home to visit. This gives me more time to do stuff I actually want to be doing.

As a security person, I have to worry a little less about what apps my coworkers are running, and I know there's a reasonably good sandbox keeping one app's data away from another's. If there were, say, a Facebook-encapsulated app store, I might have zero confidence that the game app they installed through it can't access data in the "add cat pics to your presentation!" app that they also installed through it.

I totally get why people want to have multiple app stores on their phone, and I can't say they're wrong. Still, I'm perfectly happy with the current state of affairs, and have no desire to have Epic and Facebook app stores on my kids' or coworkers' phones that I'm at least a little bit responsible for.


Did you read the article? From the first paragraph...

> The North Dakota state senate voted 36-11 on Tuesday not to pass a bill that would have required app stores to enable software developers to use their own payment processing software and avoid fees charged by Apple and Google.

You can keep your walled garden and still allow app developers to use a third party payment processer.


This isn’t a problem for governments to solve. I would like it if there were additional methods to install software on my phone OOB besides the App Store, but I it’s not the government’s problem.


> I would like it if there were additional methods to install software on my phone OOB besides the App Store, but I it’s not the government’s problem.

We have a government "of the people, by the people, for the people". If there’s a problem a lot of us face, and we don’t have the individual leverage to solve it, then that’s what our government is for.


I disagree. The government isn’t a hammer to be wielded against our societal adversaries. The fact that it has been and continues to be does not make it right to do so.


The US government investigated and sued Microsoft for anti-trust violations many year ago. The anti-trust legal issues hampered Microsoft enough, so that smaller competitors, like Apple and Google, were able to gain traction in online and mobile space.

If that didn't happen, you would most likely be a Microsoft serf speaking into a Microsoft Windows Pocket PC Phone consumer edition.

Apple and Google has much tighter control over the platforms now than Microsoft ever dreamed of in wildest monopoly fantasies.

Government can use the same anti-trust regulations to break up Apple and Google and monopoly control over mobile app stores.

It's governments duty to keep fair competition in the marketplace, so innovation and free trade can happen for benefit of consumers.


In retrospect that whole case was a wash and wasn’t a good use of the Government’s time nor an appropriate use of its powers.

Apple and Google were legitimately more competitive in digital music and web search/web advertising respectively without government intervention. They would also both go on to wreck Microsoft’s WinCE business under all of its various names and guises on both the high end and the low end. SanDisk and Yahoo were their biggest competitors in music and web services during this time. Microsoft’s attempts to purchase Yahoo were rebuffed by Yahoo management’s overvaluation of themselves.

Your premise for this alternate history is flawed.

I stand by my statement: this isn’t the government’s problem, any government’s problem, and especially not any American government’s problem.


I recommend looking into history.

Apple was failing as computer company. Apple only survived because Microsoft threw them a lifeline, licensing Office suite in Macs and investing in Apple. Microsoft wanted to show anti-trust regulators that there was software competition in PC market. If there was no anti-trust suit against Microsoft, Apple would have likely went bankrupt.

Microsoft was on the way to owning Desktop and web space, by tightly integrating IE into Windows. Left on own, Microsoft would have routed all default browser traffic to Microsoft search engine on MSN. Google would have remained some student research prototype into an algorithm about backlinks.


Microsoft invested in Apple in 1997. The DOJ filed suit in 1998.

It was a tactic to deflect a DOJ suit, unsuccessfully, but again, this was likely not an appropriate use of the government’s authority. For the sake of argument, even if it were, that does not mean it would be today. Present circumstances are not a mirror of the past. If you want to make a good case for government intervention in the market, your best argument is not that the United States once sued Microsoft and now it is Apple’s turn.

Mind the DOJ has sued Apple (and publishers) once using antitrust law relating to the iBooks Store. The result further cemented Amazon’s market dominance in ebooks and increased ebook prices.


The argument is the same as before. Apple and Google are using monopoly control of mobile app stores to stifle competition. Existing anti-trust rules are enough to sue and get ruling to break up Apple and Google control of app stores.

More innovation and competition are good things. When mobile app stores are freed, new baby Apple and baby Google type companies can be free to build new services and features.


> More innovation and competition are good things.

I agree. That’s why this isn’t the government’s problem. Rather than trying to wrench away someone else’s golden goose, find your own.

I would be pleased if Apple just opened up side-loading, but not so pleased if that came about from the business end of a gun wielded by a tyrannical and envious mob or a career climbing prosecutor claiming to wield such a gun for their sake.


And then Microsoft had to stop forcing OEMs to bundle crapware. And, no surprise, crapware from OEMs is still a thing. Bundling a browser into my OS is the least of my worries.


I think it's not the best idea to allow apps on your store to use third party payment processors. Users won't have the same protections that the app store gives to them when they use a third party payment processor.


If the user, as an intelligent adult person decide to buy from this third party using the payment processor of the third party, this is his choice.

Apple teaches users to become assisted depended stupid individuals.

"Ohhh look at this nice shinny company that is here to take care of my best interests, lets withdraw all my rights to them".

That makes me think about the book "the animal farm" book also from Orwell.

Users that are almost begging to be put into servitude...

Imagine if real life was like that?

Like the post office looking at your mail and delivering only the one that they decide they approve (and serve their financial interests).

- "oh, I see that this person bought a Xiaomi phone, it is probably not a secure device, let refuse to deliver it."

- "Look, someone sent a 10e bill reimbursement inside a letter to their friend, they should have used our shitty money-remittance service, lets burn this letter"


What protections does the app store give over other payment processors?


Visibility:

When I go to my account -> subscriptions on an iPhone, I can see all of the subscriptions that I have. Oh, hey, I've got a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal. Annual billing, next date May 4, 2021. I click on that, and I see how much it is and I can click "cancel subscription".

I've also got a subscription with Washington Post... somewhere... on some card. To cancel that involves going into WaPo's site and navigating to the account, and trying to find the billing and cancel and turn that off.

Additionally, I can see "This subscription for Microsoft Office 365 Personal". Compare seeing a charge on March 4th show up that is for "Microsoft" - where did that come from? How do I find out what service its associated with? How do I cancel it? What account do I log in to to cancel it?

Microsoft would be fairly clear... but what if it was for "Some Random Developer" - who even makes something that I'm getting billed for? What was it for? The name that something shows up for billing purposes doesn't always reflect the company that the billing is from. I've done "move everything off the card, and cancel the card" in the past to try to find out what reoccurring billing line item was hitting me for $20/month (years and years ago). I never figured it out as everything that I knew that I used that I transferred off didn't break or send me a "your monthly subscription didn't go through" ... it was probably for some service that I subscribed to but forgot about (though they didn't forget about me).


Their not that great as far as payment processors go, but a sketchy app is going to chose the payment processor that’s the best fit for them and thus the worst for the consumer.

A larger threat IMO is teaching people to enter CC info or worse banking info into apps.


Apple propaganda.


I resent the idea that that my comment is somehow propaganda for Apple. I'm extremely opposed to the way they've closed off app distribution on iOS.


I meant that Apple’s claim of protection is propaganda, as is their claim that sideloading on iPhone will “kill the platform”.


If this had passed and become law, how would that have even worked?


It likely wouldn't. North Dakota is a small enough market that Apple would probably prefer to just not sell there than change their policies.

Things like tougher vehicle emissions regulations (than imposed at the federal level) work because large states like CA require them, so it ends up being cheaper for manufacturers to just build to the CA standard for all states.


I'm sure a state court lawsuit from some ND developer with a lot of delays and such until it got to the Supreme Court. Probably quite a lot like the sales tax lawsuit Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.


I live in North Dakota AMA


So the App Store show goes on. unsurprisingly.




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