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Apple vs Epic Games: Apple Can’t Make Developers Use In-app Purchasing

UTC by Ibukun Ogundare · 3 min read
Apple vs Epic Games: Apple Can’t Make Developers Use In-app Purchasing
Photo: Depositphotos

According to a recent injunction, Apple will henceforth not stop developers from providing outbound links or other communications that direct users from Apple in-app purchasing.

The injunction was issued by federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on the 10th of September after the judge reached a decision on the legal battle between Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and video game company Epic Games.

Apple No Longer Compel Developers to Use In-App Purchasing

The injunction focuses on a prolonged issue between Epic games, who is the plaintiff, and Apple, the defendant. The injunction, which takes effect in December, stated:

“Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are thereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other class 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 app.”

The judges’ decision addresses the complaints on Apple’s App Store policies and how the technology company handles competition. Out of 10 counts, Apple won on nine. However, findings showed that the tech giant engages in anticompetitive conduct under California law. As such, the court is ordering that Apple relaxes its App Store policies. Also, the tech company will ease off on rules governing its in-app purchases.

In addition, the court referred to Apple’s anti-steering rules, which limit consumers to only Apple purchases. Rogers wrote that the anti-steering provisions by Apple illegally choke consumers’ choices. Also, the court concluded that Apple restricts users from important information. Noting that Apple is not a monopolist, the federal judge referred to the company’s steering provisions are “anticompetitive.”

Apple vs Epic Games

Like some other developers, Epic Games demanded to have its own app store on iPhones. This way, the video game company passes Apple’s cut and charges people as it pleases. Unfortunately for Epic Games, the recent court ruling does not answer its request.

Representatives from Apple and Epic Games both commented on the court’s ruling. While Apple sees it as a “huge win,” Epic Games said otherwise. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said 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.”

Epic Games CEO has been against the rules of the in-app purchase by Apple since 2015. The video game company has its most popular game Fortnite on the App Store. Fortnite generates money every time a player buys V-bucks or buys costumes. Generally, Apple takes between 15% to 30% of each transaction, and developers like Epic Games have been grumbling about it.

At the time of writing, Apple is down 0.20%to $148.67 at after-hours trading.

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