Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Epic Games Accuses Apple of Charging ‘Unjustified Fees’ for Required Non-App Store Purchase Link

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Epic Games is once again after Apple, this time accusing the Cupertino company of violating a court ruling that requires Apple to allow developers to offer in-app links to direct customers to third-party purchase options on the web.

Apple tweaked its U.S. App Store policies back in January, and developers are permitted to put one link in their apps that leads to a website where customers can make a purchase without using the in-app purchase system. Apple is still charging commission for these purchases, requiring developers to pay between 12 and 27 percent (three percent lower than the 15/30 standard fee).

‌Epic Games‌ is unhappy with the fee that Apple continues to charge, today telling the court that Apple has not complied with the order, and asking that Apple be held in contempt of court. ‌Epic Games‌ claims that the fees make the links “commercially unusable,” thereby subverting the injunction.

Apple violates the Injunction in three ways. First, with respect to External Links, Apple has imposed new fees and enacted a slew of new rules that work together to make the links commercially unusable. This new fee and accompanying web of restrictions subverts the purpose of the Injunction, allowing Apple to continue extracting its excessive commissions and making it effectively impossible for a developer to inform users about, and direct users toward, an alternative platform for making a purchase.

Second, Apple continues to categorically prohibit any steering using “buttons” or “other calls to action”. Specifically, Apple does not allow External Links that resemble a “button” in any way.

Third, Apple’s Guideline 3.1.3 still prohibits certain apps, including all multiplatform services (i.e., apps that operate across multiple platforms and allow users to access the same content across these platforms, including popular games such as Minecraft), from “within the app, encourag[ing] users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase”. This language expressly contravenes the Injunction by prohibiting any steering to alternative purchasing methods.

‌Epic Games‌ collected statements from other developers that have spoken out against Apple’s App Store fees, including Paddle CEO Christian Owens and Down Dog CEO Benjamin Simon.

Apple was initially ordered to make the ‌App Store‌ changes in 2021 as part of its court battle with ‌Epic Games‌. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, who oversaw the case, took issue with Apple’s anti-steering rules. Apple was able to delay implementing the ‌App Store‌ changes for a few years while it appealed, but none of the courts decided to change the verdict. Apple ultimately took it to the Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the case, so Apple had to comply immediately at the beginning of the year.

‌Epic Games‌ claims that the fee Apple charges for the link is “financially unattractive” for developers who want to choose another payment solution, and it “prevents any meaningful competition between payment solutions.” The company wants the court to require Apple to bring its policies into compliance with the injunction.Tags: Epic Games, Epic Games vs. Apple
This article, “Epic Games Accuses Apple of Charging ‘Unjustified Fees’ for Required Non-App Store Purchase Link” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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