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It’s time to free ourselves from ‘Big Tech’ monopoly

iPhone 4s screen closeup with iTunes and App Store

If we want to grow Arizona’s economy, we need to talk about video games. No, that’s not a joke. Maybe you’ve never heard of Candy Crush or Fortnite, or think they’re irrelevant to our economy, but they can play a critical role in growing our tech industry.

Here’s why: Arizona is trying to build a strong economy for our future. We’re working to cut red tape and encourage entrepreneurs to build their business here. We’re especially excited about the tech sector, which has the potential to bring jobs and opportunity to Arizona. Entrepreneurs are creating apps and software, and we think they should do that right here.

Regina Cobb

Regina Cobb

But while many of us in elected office are trying our best to support small businesses, Big Tech companies are using their power to fight us. Right now, Candy Crush and Fortnite are at their mercy, and so are Arizonans who play those games.

HB2005 will change that.

Apple and Google have a monopoly on how you download apps to your phone. Because of that, for any app that offers digital services like games or music, you have to pay through Apple or Google’s monopolistic payment processing system. What most people don’t know is that Apple and Google take a 30% cut because of their “app tax.”

You have to use their system and their payment processor, and then they tax you for it. Small app developers have to absorb the cost and struggle to survive or pass the tax onto their consumers.

Right now, there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. Traditionally, if a retailer charged too much for a video game, you could drive across town and buy it from their rival. But on your phone, you can’t shop around for a better price because there’s only one store!

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to games. Want music on your phone? There’s an app tax for that. Need software to help manage your business? There’s an app tax for that. Dating or fitness? There’s an app tax for that, too.

Leo Biasiucci

Leo Biasiucci

The status quo is failing Arizonans, forcing us to pay inflated prices. It’s failing entrepreneurs, who are being forced to jump through hoops simply to get products to their customers. In fact, the only folks who seem to benefit from this setup are the monopolies – Apple and Google.

But we’re ready to change that – and Arizona is leading the charge. While D.C. sits on its hands, we are taking action now to challenge Big Tech’s monopoly and make Arizona a better place for every app user and app developer. We are fighting for HB2005, a bill to lower prices for consumers and free small businesses from Big Tech’s “app tax.” The legislation would allow web developers to accept payments for their apps without going through Apple or Google’s app stores, bypassing the app tax and reducing the cost for consumers without compromising security or safety.

This is a bipartisan issue. We know that taking on the app tax to bring businesses and jobs to Arizona is something we can all get behind, all while loosening the stranglehold Big Tech has over our daily lives – and pocketbooks!

Our bill is a commonsense approach that will help small business and bring new revenue to the state. It’s a simple way to open up our state’s economy, bring in new jobs, and attract top talent from across the nation.

Waiting for Washington never got us anywhere before – it’s time to pass HB2005 to bring tech businesses to Arizona and remove the payment monopoly to reduce the 30% “app tax.”

Reps. Regina Cobb and Leo Biasiucci represent Legislative District 5.

3 comments

  1. 1. Web developers already accept payments without paying Apple/Google. Do you not understand the difference between the web and the app stores? This is a huge and fundamental distinction that anyone writing legislation in this area should not be confused by.

    2. Also in the news today: “Software Bug Keeping Hundreds Of Inmates In Arizona Prisons Beyond Release Dates”. If you’ve got programmers in Arizona looking for work, why not put them to work fixing your broken computer systems so prisoners who should be free can be freed? Your big problem with software isn’t kids paying 30% extra for “Candy Crush”. It’s unlawfully keeping your own citizens behind bars. You can’t blame “Big Tech” for that.

  2. These legislators are either misinformed or in the pocket of Epic (a large software company fighting a very public battle with Apple). So suggest that these app stores inhibit businesses is insane. Thousands upon thousands of companies, large and small, can and do put their apps and services in the hands of millions of users with a tiny fraction of the costs formerly associated with software distribution.

    What’s next? Will Arizona insist that I can sell my products through Amazon or eBay without any compensation for those platforms?

    Whenever the next campaign filings come out, check to see how much money was donated from executives from Epic. They tried this in North Dakota last week and just week it’s Arizona. It’s a terrible idea that will hurt developers and customers. It sure would be a shame if Apple and Google stop providing services in AZ (which they will if they aren’t allowed to cover their costs and make a reasonable profit).

  3. Arizona Legislators once again try to find solutions for problems that don’t exist. Cobb & Biasiucci, Republicans, apparently aren’t for the free market and having businesses running the way they choose. If Epic or the like wants to make an Epic phone, great! Why don’t we open the door to apps for pornography, bestiality, and 8kun nihilist apps so there are no set rules guidelines for what is in and out of bounds. Granted, the readers of this are so misinformed that they think the 30% rule applies to the “garage developer” but Apple and Google have already solved this but cutting commissions to 10% or less – this “tax”, if you will, applies to multibillion dollar companies, particularly Epic, who is 40% owned by who? TenCent – a MASSIVE Chinese company.

    So… spare the outrage. If you want curated content that saves you from the race to the bottom of the drags of society and the dark aspect of our digital world, I think REASONABLE regulation may be appropriate, but given that the “r” word (regulation) is bad, just go back to Adam Smith and the free hand. It’ll be figured out and the courts will decide if its anti-competitive. Then again, TenCent is a $58b USD market cap company so I’m pretty sure they can figure out their own ecosystem if they’re so wronged by Apple and Google.

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