Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Arizona House of Representatives adopts law untying in-app payment method from mobile app store monopolies: now on to the State Senate

Here's a follow-up to my very recent commentary on HB2005, a legislative proposal preventing Apple and Google from requiring developers to use only one payment system per mobile app store. Republican state lawmakers Dr. Regina Cobb and Leo Biasiucci sponsored the bill.

Today, the Arizona House of Representatives--one of the two chambers of the state legislature--PASSED the bill!

This screenshot is from the status webpage (click on the image to enlarge; the "PASSED" information may not be visible otherwise):

The result of the third reading vote was 31-29. There are 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats in the Arizona State House, and one member per party crossed the aisle, thereby canceling each other out.

A couple of proposed amendments failed, while a proposal by Dr. Cobb (enabling app developers to complain to Arizona's Attorney General about any failure by Apple or Google to comply) was adopted. (Technically, the App Store part of HB2005 was an amendment to a multi-purpose bill, which amendment then in turn got amended in the way just described.)

The Coalition for App Fairness is pleased, but notes that this is merely a first step toward a level playing field for all:

In order for this measure to be passed into law, the Arizona Senate would have to adopt it as well, and the Governor would have to sign it (as opposed to vetoing it). The (counter)lobbying onslaught by Apple and Google has been massive already, and may further intensify. There are 16 Republican and 14 Democratic senators. It is counterintuitive that Arizona Democrats have such strong reservations concerning this measure, considering that the Democratic majority in the United States House of Representatives took a clear position on tech monopolies and walled gardens in October.

This remains interesting, and meanwhile there are initiatives in various other states. Today, the Minnesota Reformer website published an opinion piece by Justin Stofferahn and Pat Garofalo, calling on the Minnesota state legislature to "curb anti-competitive tactics" in order to become, once again, "an innovation center."

And in precisely two months from today, the Epic Games v. Apple antitrust trial will start in Oakland, California.

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