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Illinois bill could force Apple to allow alternative app payment methods


After Arizona unsuccessfully tried to force Apple and Google to allow alternative payment methods in third-party apps distributed through the App Store and Google Play, Illinois is now following suit. Illinois senators have filed a bill to make both companies allow developers to use whatever payment methods they want.

As reported by WGEM, the “Freedom to Subscribe Directly Act” aims to prohibit Apple and Google from requiring developers to use the App Store and Google Play to “sell their products and services.” In other words, the act would allow developers to distribute apps that sell items without using the native in-app purchases system or even outside the App Store.

The Illinois senators’ proposal is being supported by the software company Basecamp, which is also located in Illinois. Basecamp, which is responsible for the HEY email client, has had a dispute with Apple in the past as the Cupertino-based company rejected HEY on the App Store since the developers didn’t want to pay the 30% commission to Apple.

“Apple demanded we sell our new service through their payment processor, so they could take their 30% cut, or we’d be thrown out of the app store.” Heinemeier-Hansson [Basecamp co-founder] said.

“Basecamp might have among the few companies willing to speak up but we are far from the only ones dealing with these oppressive regimes,” he continued.

This legislation comes at a time when big tech companies have been facing multiple antitrust investigations. Governments and even other companies accuse them of monopolistic practices. Speaking of Apple, most of the complaints are due to the fact that developers cannot distribute iOS apps outside the App Store, which forces them to agree to Apple’s terms and fees.

Similar bills have been proposed in other US states such as Florida, New York, and North Dakota. However, none of them have been successful so far. Apple has recently been forced to allow alternative payment systems in the Netherlands and South Korea, but even so, the company claims that it will still charge developers the 30% commission.

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