Apple is still trying to prevent a court-ordered rule change in the App Store. After a decision in the cartel dispute with Epic Games, Apple must allow software vendors and developers to embed links and buttons to external payment options in apps starting in December. With a new request, Apple attempts to stay the court order at least for the duration of the appeal proceedings (Epic Games v. Apple, file number 4: 20-cv-05640, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division).
The company is now arguing that “the integrity of the iOS ecosystem” and the entire “monetization model” will be disrupted by the arrangement. Apple is ordered to provide its intellectual property for free and weaken security and privacy.
Not a “monopoly”, but anti-competitive
The court ruled in September that Apple was not an “antitrust monopoly” in the “mobile game transaction market”. The judge stressed that developers should not be barred from advising users on cheaper external purchase options in their app. He therefore ruled that Apple should remove a central rule from the App Store.
This relates to the rule that prohibits apps from using “buttons, external links, or other calls to action” to refer to payment options other than Apple’s in-app payment interface. Apple has always banned this in the App Store because the company retains a commission of up to 30% for purchases made through its own mandatory payment interface (In-App Purchase – IAP).
Other payment service providers are already scratching their feet in hopes of being able to be present in iOS apps in the future. Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated during the process that the company may look for other ways to earn a commission if the requirement for in-app purchases drops. Google wants to allow alternative payment options in apps in South Korea in the future, but continues to charge a commission for it – Apple could do the same.
Epic and Apple appeal
Epic Games immediately appealed the verdict, and Apple also appealed and has since requested that the injunction be stayed until the end of the appeal process – the latter is currently still in dispute. The injunction goes into effect on December 9 if Apple fails in its appeal – the judge has scheduled a hearing for the week ahead.
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