Apple allows 3rd party app store payments

Apple App Store developers will now be able to direct their users to outside payment methods, other than the BigTech’s in-house offering.

The news comes after a high-profile anti-trust case brought on by Epic Games, creator of Fortnite.

The case focuses on allegations that the consumer technology giant forcing consumers to use its in-app payment system on iOS was anti-competitive and monopolistic.

The case was held in the US District Court of Northern California by Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and the 16-day trial involved more than 900 pieces of evidence and testimony from Epic Games chief executive Tim Sweeney and Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

The ruling did not force Apple to let app developers use their own in-app payment systems, one of Epic's requests.

In addition, Rogers said, “success is not illegal” and that Apple was not guilty of being a monopolist.

Apple’s chief counsel Kate Adams called the decision a “huge win”.

The consumer technology giant will continue to charge commissions of 15 per cent to 30 per cent for developers using its own in-app payment system.

The case also found that gaming apps account for 70 per cent of App Store revenue.

Apple shares were down 3.4 per cent in trading on the news and it has not yet announced if it will appeal the ruling.

App store downloads generated $64 billion in 2020, a significant chunk of the BigTech giant’s $274.52 billion revenue.

Apple forks out around €3.5 million annually lobbing EU institutions, the fourth most of any US tech company - behind Microsoft, Facebook, and Google - according to a study from campaign groups Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl.

Google is also currently facing a lawsuit from 37 US states over concerns about its app store Google Play and that it used “monopolistic leverage” to make excessive profits from the platform.

“Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers,” said Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney. “Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”

“The court concludes that Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice,” said Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. “When coupled with Apple’s incipient antitrust violations, these anti-steering provisions are anticompetitive and a nationwide remedy to eliminate those provisions is warranted.”

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