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A US federal judge has relaxed Apple’s strict controls on its App Store. He ordered the iPhone manufacturer on Friday to stop interfering with apps that want to pay outside of its store.
So far, Apple has banned apps from containing links, and even notified their customers that they can subscribe or purchase digital items outside of the App Store, for example through the website. At the same time, the Cupertino company charges 15-30% of the payments it processes.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says This behavior is “anti-competitive” and “permanently” prohibits Apple from preventing apps from containing “buttons, external links, or other calls to action to direct customers to purchase mechanisms, as well as in-app purchases.”
Affected by this news, Apple’s stock price fell 2.5%.Share in Spotify, music streaming apps have Still protesting Compared with Apple’s App Store commission, there is a similar increase.
The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by Fortnite maker Epic Games in August 2020. Epic made changes to Fortnite earlier that month to bypass Apple’s App Store payment system, prompting Apple to block the game.
Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney called Apple a monopolist and said in a statement Interview with CNBC “If every developer can accept their own payment and avoid the 30% tax imposed by Apple and Google, we can pass the savings on to all our consumers and players.”
However, the judge stated that she could not conclude that Apple is a monopolist “under federal or state antitrust laws.” She added that it is not impossible to prove that Apple operates an illegal monopoly, but “Epic Games has failed to prove this.”
She said that the $100 billion game market was “economically exploited,” but that Epic had “over-expanded”. She also rejected Epic’s request that customers can bypass the App Store by sideloading apps, and stated that she does not believe that Apple’s commission violates competition laws.
Sweeney said after the verdict that this is not a victory for developers or consumers. He said that when “Epic can provide in-app payments that compete with Apple in-app payments”, Fortnite will return to the iPhone. Epic also stated that it will appeal the decision.
Apple this month Provided a small concession to the developer So-called “reader apps” such as Netflix and Spotify allow them to include links to their websites to bypass App Store fees. But gaming apps—about three-quarters of App Store revenue—are clearly not appearing in new deals.
Apple welcomed the verdict in a brief statement, praising the judge for acknowledging that “success is not illegal.”
“We are very satisfied with this decision. This is a huge victory,” said Kate Adams, Apple’s general counsel.