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In the case of Epic v. Apple, judge rules Apple must allow other forms of in-app purchases

By Kenny Yeo - on 11 Sep 2021, 10:03am

In the case of Epic v. Apple, judge rules Apple must allow other forms of in-app purchases

Last year, Epic Games went to war with Apple when it decided to include other in-app purchasing methods in Fortnite which would effectively bypass Apple's own payment system and thereby prevent Apple from collecting its fees.

Now, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has issued a permanent injunction that says Apple must allow developers to offer other modes of payment beyond whatever is offered by Apple. The injunction takes effect in 90 days – that means 9 December – unless otherwise instructed by a higher court.

To quote the ruling:

Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.

Though this means Apple must allow developers to include other in-app payment methods, the exact specifics of this are still unknown or yet to be unestablished.

Epic Games, on the other hand, was found to be in breach of its contract and must pay Apple 30% of the revenue it collected when it implemented its own payment system. A sum that is said to be over US$3.5 million.

(Image source: Epic Games)

Apple, when reached for comment, said the ruling was a victory for the App Store model.

A representative said:

Today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law. Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. We remain committed to ensuring the App Store is a safe and trusted marketplace.

What's clear, however, is that Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, isn't happy.

He said the following in a tweet:

Today’s ruling isn't a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.

Additionally, Fortnite won't be returning to the App Store yet. Sweeney said it will return "when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers."

Epic said it will appeal the decision though it didn't specify on what grounds.

As for Apple, while the company calls it a "resounding victory", I can't imagine that they'll be too pleased about having to allow developers to include alternative payment methods.

Though the App Store still remains as the only place iOS users can go to download new apps, the ruling will almost certainly put a dent in the App Store's profits. The App Store reportedly made around US$19 billion for Apple last year.

The stock market reflected these sentiments too as Apple stocks fell roughly 3% after hitting highs earlier this week.

The next couple of weeks could be very interesting.

Source: Court ListenerThe Verge

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