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Wed, April 14

Fighting for fairness - for Arizona Consumers and Businesses tech industry and consumers

We use apps every day without thinking about them too much. But behind the scrolling, shopping, traveling, streaming and entertainment these apps offer, there’s a sad truth: the developers of these apps are not getting a fair shake and, as a result, consumers are paying the price. It’s all because multibillion dollar tech companies like Apple can impose excessive, dare I say monopolistic, restrictions on any company seeking to use its App Store platform.

That’s why I’m working to pass HB2005, which will level the playing field for Arizona-based app developers, strengthen our economy and attract businesses to our state’s emerging tech industry, all while giving consumers more options and lowering costs.

There’s been a lot of noise about this issue. Apple has been in town trying out their best bullying tactics, but I’m not afraid of Big Tech. As a legislator, it is my duty to rise above the clamor to make the best decisions, within constitutional bounds, to protect Arizona consumers.

Companies like Apple are making this legislation necessary by misusing their power to dominate the marketplace, crush competition and harm consumers. Most of us don’t think twice when we make a purchase through an app on our phone but know this: Apple takes a 30% cut of the purchase made through apps on its App Store, and they can get away with it because there’s no other way to get an app on your phone.

The impact on innovation and bottom lines cannot be overstated here. Due to the 30% “app tax,” as well as the mandate for apps to only use their payment processing system, many small or mid-sized app developers are forced to eat the costs or pass them on to consumers. In many cases, it has prevented start-ups from even getting off the ground. This is no way to foster entrepreneurship or grow our tech industry.

HB2005 would change all of that by allowing app developers to offer the same payment choices you already use and bypass the app tax monopoly, ultimately reducing costs for consumers.

This is not a partisan issue. This is about standing up for a fair playing field, removing unnecessary red tape, and fighting for transparency and better deals for consumers. This is about fostering a pro-business environment in Arizona where everyone can thrive. I’ve been thankful to hear from groups on both sides of the aisle in support of this bill.

Trillion-dollar companies with total power over the devices glued to our hands are desperate to remain the unchecked gatekeepers. If we stand up to Big Tech giants who have manipulated the marketplace for far too long, Arizona tech companies and developers can be better equipped to grow, thrive and create well-paying jobs. We can help support a free and fair marketplace, unencumbered by anti-competitive policies that stifle innovation, hurt small businesses and raise costs for consumers. It all starts by passing HB2005.

(Regina Cobb represents District 5, which includes the Kingman area, in the Arizona Legislature.)

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