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A North Dakota bill aiming to loosen Apple's tight grip on iOS has failed

A North Dakota bill aiming to loosen Apple's tight grip on iOS has failed

February 16, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon

A bill aiming to loosen Apple's iOS app publishing restrictions in a way that could allow developers to launch games without agreeing to Apple's standard revenue splits has been rejected by North Dakota's state senate.

The bill went to a vote today and ultimately failed with 36 votes against and only 11 for, according to CNBC. If it had passed in the senate and made it through the house, the North Dakota bill would've required companies in the state making over $10 million yearly through app stores to allow third-party payment processing on their platforms.

Apple, of course, isn't based out of North Dakota so the bill wouldn't have had an immediate effect on the app store, but proponents of the bill saw it as a way to get similar legislation movements going in other states, likely ones with a more direct link to Apple or Google.

Quotes from state senators captured in that full CNBC article argue that North Dakota shouldn't be the battleground on which battles between corporations are fought, while others made the case that it was a chance for the state to become a leader in what's sure to become a critical issue in the coming months and years.

The bill clearly agreed with the argument being made by Epic Games in its legal back and forth with Apple, so much so that the company had to deny involvement in the bill following rumors it was hiring lobbyists to encourage the bill along.

Instead, Epic noted in a statement sent to CNET that it had only issued statements in support of the bill, which itself is understandable given how much the now-failed anti-app store bill is aligned with Epic's own perspective that Apple has created an anti-competitive environment by barring other app stores or payment processors from iOS.

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