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North Dakota Senate kills bill targeting app stores

February 16, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Senate killed a bill Wednesday seeking to ban companies such as Apple and Google from requiring app developers to exclusively use their app store and payment system.

Only 11 of the chamber’s 47 senators voted in favor of the measure.

Republican Sen. Kyle Davison, of Fargo, said his bill sought to “level the playing field” against companies he called monopolies.

Davison said that a 30% fee imposed by Apple and Google on in-app purchases penalizes small app developers and limits competition.

Davison told fellow Senators Wednesday that approving the legislation would attract app developers and “unleash a new round of innovation and growth.”

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Fessenden GOP Sen. Jerry Kline and other opponents of the bill argued it interferes with the free market and could put people’s security and privacy at risk.

“Our free market works pretty well without heavy-handed government intervention,” he said.

Kline said passing the legislation could thrust North Dakota in a lengthy and expensive court battle.

“Creating regulation that targets some companies but not others who produce similar products presents a number of legal, if not moral questions,” Kline told fellow senators. “Keep out North Dakota taxpayer dollars out of private business disputes.”