Apple Under Fire for Violating Court Order in Epic Games Trial

Apple Under Fire for Violating Court Order in Epic Games Trial

Major tech companies, including Meta, Microsoft, Match Group, and X, have accused Apple of failing to comply with a court order issued by a California federal judge in its legal battle against Epic Games. The order, issued by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in 2021, prohibited Apple from restricting app developers from including external links or other means to inform users about payment options outside of the App Store ecosystem. This directive was aimed at addressing concerns raised by Epic Games and other developers regarding Apple’s 15 to 30 percent fees on in-app purchases.

In a joint amicus brief submitted to the court, the companies argue that Apple’s proposed solution to comply with the order falls short of addressing the underlying issue. Apple’s suggestion to allow developers to direct users to external purchase links is deemed overly complex and burdensome by the amici. They point out that Apple’s proposed 12 to 27 percent fee on external purchases is only marginally lower than the fees imposed on in-app transactions, making it financially unfeasible for developers to implement alternative payment systems outside of Apple’s ecosystem.

The companies further contend that Apple’s strict control over in-app payments not only hinders developers’ ability to offer competitive pricing but also limits consumer choice. For instance, Meta reveals that Apple’s insistence on charging fees for its advertising product within apps has resulted in increased costs for users. Meta argues that if it were allowed to direct users to its own payment options, the additional fees imposed by Apple could be avoided, ultimately benefiting both the company and its users.

Epic Games, the original plaintiff in the case against Apple, has urged Judge Gonzalez Rogers to enforce her initial order, accusing Apple of blatant non-compliance. The involvement of other tech giants such as Meta and Microsoft in the latest legal challenge underscores the widespread impact of Apple’s policies on the industry. The upcoming hearing scheduled for April 30th will provide Apple with an opportunity to respond to the allegations raised by the amici and Epic Games.

Apple’s handling of external payment options and in-app fees has come under intense scrutiny from several major tech companies. The criticism levied against Apple in the amicus brief highlights the ongoing tensions between app developers and platform operators over revenue sharing and control. As the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games continues to unfold, the tech industry will be closely watching the outcome of the upcoming hearing to determine the implications for future app store policies and practices.

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