A bill from Arizona addresses the fees tech companies charge its app developers is creating new antitrust challenges. Apple and Google are the leaders of the app store markets in the world with their App Store and Play Store on iOS and Android respectively. Both the companies have been questioned several times in the past about their practices.
The bill has already passed the Arizona state house and it will next be moved to the state’s senate. If the bill is successfully implemented, it would require Apple and Google to give developers the freedom of using their own payment systems. At present, developers are forced to use payment systems made by Apple and Google on the two most popular operating systems – iOS and Android.
“This is this is the new front that has opened up in the battles over how tech should be regulated,” said the director of the antitrust division at Thomson Reuters Practical Law, Janelle Wrigley. “If it ends up passing in Arizona, I think there will be a rush to pass similar legislation in other states.”
Unfair tax imposed on apps
“This app tax cuts deeply into consumer purchasing power and stifles developer revenue,” the Coalition for App Fairness said in a statement. “This is especially unfair when this tax is imposed on apps competing directly with similar apps sold by Apple. This puts businesses at a distinct competitive disadvantage and thus drives up the prices for consumers.”
The Coalition for App Fairness is made up of companies such as Spotify and Epic Games.
“These corporations are preventing Black-owned small businesses from flourishing by essentially extracting a ransom for access to users,” said the vice-president of the progressive advocacy organization Color of Change, Arisha Hatch. “We need strong antitrust enforcement at both the federal and state levels to prevent tech giants from inflaming inequities throughout our economy and society.”