Arizona Bill Aimed At Fortnite-Apple Dispute Appears To Be Dead
An Arizona bill that could have had a big impact on the legal battle between Epic and Apple has been shelved, following lobbying from Apple and Google.
A proposed Arizona bill that appeared primed to insert the state in the middle of the ongoing legal battle between Epic and Apple/Google looks to be dead on arrival. Arizona House Bill 2005 was passed over for a vote after support seemed to wane last-minute.
HB2005 was set to come up for a vote last week, but the House passed over it on the schedule. The Senate has reportedly pulled the bill, and its sponsor told The Verge that it won't be coming back for the rest of the year. That seems to effectively kill the bill for the time being, and if it does come back it could be after the legal dispute has had its day in court.
Lawmakers have suggested industry lobbying may have had an effect. State representative Regina Cobb, who sponsored the bill, said Apple and Google "hired almost every lobbyist in town." As a result, some votes that had seemed secure suddenly wavered, causing them to pull the bill at the last moment. Similarly, commerce chair J.D. Mesnard said there wasn't enough support, with some members opposed and others simply feeling "conflicted."
The proposed bill would have prevented app stores operating in Arizona from forcing developers to use their preferred payment system. That would have been a big win for Epic Games, since it would require Apple and Google to allow Epic to offer its own payment system in the state. It's one of several state bills advocated by the Coalition for App Fairness, a lobbying group founded by Epic and various other tech companies. Similar bills have been proposed in Georgia, Hawaii, and Minnesota. One such bill failed in North Dakota.
Epic Games is ultimately seeking permission to allow for its own payment methods, and perhaps even to operate its own independent app store within the Apple and Google ecosystems. The legal battle began when Epic Games circumvented Apple and Google's in-app payment systems, resulting in Fortnite being pulled from both stores. The Epic v. Apple trial will begin on May 3.