Big Tech Companies Say Apple’s App Store Rules Insufficient: Brief

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Apple’s App Store was the subject of a 2021 antitrust ruling.

  • Meta, Microsoft, X, and Match say Apple hasn’t complied with a 2021 order over in-app purchases.
  • The order was the result of a lawsuit brought by Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite.
  • The four companies argue Apple’s solution fails to provide adequate alternative payment options.

Pressure is mounting against Apple in its fight with Epic Games over app store payments.

Meta, Microsoft, X, and Match filed a brief Wednesday that throws support behind Epic Games — the maker of Fortnite — in its dispute with Apple over in-app purchases.

A 2021 ruling found that Apple wasn’t complying with competition laws because it restricted developers from using payment processing services other than Apple’s.

The tech giant charges up to 30% fees for in-app purchases and has made it difficult for third-party developers to steer customers to alternative payment options, Fornite argued in its suit. A judge agreed and required Apple to come up with a model that would allow customers to use other payment options.

Apple responded by allowing third-party developers to include a link that would lead users to an outside website for payment.

But Meta, X, Microsoft, and Match — all of which have developed major apps in Apple’s App Store — said in their brief that Apple’s solution doesn’t do enough to give consumers payment options.

“Apple’s new restrictions are plainly designed to render alternatives to Apple’s IAP impractical for developers, and inaccessible and unappealing to consumers, thus circumventing both the spirit and underlying goals of the injunction,” the four companies wrote in Wednesday’s brief, filed in a US District Court in California.

In response to a request for comment from Business Insider, an Apple spokesperson pointed to Apple’s Statement of Compliance, which stated that “as of January 16, 2024, Apple has fully complied with the Injunction” by “striking the relevant parts of the App Store Review Guidelines applicable to apps on the US storefronts of the iOS and iPadOS App Stores”

The statement added that Apple has implemented “new rules that permit developers to (i) include in their apps buttons or links with calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms in addition to IAP and (ii) communicate with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.”

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