Arizona Anti-Monopoly Bill Could Help Restore Fortnite for iOS

An Arizona bill could help Fortnite return to the iOS App Store.
An Arizona bill could help Fortnite return to the iOS App Store. / Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The Arizona House passed a bill Wednesday that could have major implications for app store owners, and for Fortnite's chances to return to iOS.

Arizona House Bill HB2005, which cleared the first of Arizona's two legislative bodies in a 31-29 vote, "restricts the ability of certain digital application distribution platforms to require use of a specific in-application payment system." That restriction would apply to the iOS App Store and Google Play in addition to any other distribution platform that hits more than 1 million cumulative downloads in a single year.

The bill would also ban distribution platforms from requiring app developers based in Arizona to use "a specific in-application payment system as the sole method of accepting payments." This would explicitly undercut Apple's requirement that all in-app purchases pass through its payment processing mechanism.

Under this law, the direct payment option that got Fortnite removed from both the App Store and the Google Play store would be immune to punishment from the platform holders. Companies would also be unable to retaliate against developers that add such a direct payment system.

Apple currently charges app developers that make more than $1 million a year a 30% commission on all in-app purchases. Epic Games added its direct payment option to circumvent that commission, describing it as bad for developers and ultimately bad for consumers. HB2005 would allow Arizona-based developers to avoid that commission.

The in-person trial between Epic Games and Apple begins May 3. As HB2005 still has to pass the Arizona Senate and be signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey, it's unlikely to be enacted before that date.