Apple is trying to delay enforcement of a court ruling that would allow more app developers to sell digital items to their users who bypass the company. Apple argues that doing so risks harming consumers and the integrity of the App Store platform, according to court documents released over the weekend.
A victory for Apple
The ruling was issued in early September, as the first in the process between Apple and Epic Games (“Fortnite”). Epic has already appealed against it – and now Apple too.
Apple has largely prevailed in the process. But the judge also ruled that Apple should no longer prevent developers from notifying users of cheaper purchase options outside the App Store. According to the ruling, this change should take effect on December 9, and Apple is requesting that it be suspended for the time being.
Apple primarily allows the purchase of digital goods – such as virtual items in game apps – via its internal payment platform. A fee of 15 or 30 percent is due to the group. Apple argues, among other things, that the process will protect users from fraud attempts and misuse of their data. Some app developers criticize that the tax is unjustifiably high.
Disagreement in the interpretation of the ruling
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers came to the conclusion that Apple is entitled to charge a commission on its App Store. It also rejected Epic’s request to open the platform to other app stores. However, it saw a competition violation in the fact that Apple prevented users from referring users to cheaper buying opportunities elsewhere. Therefore, Apple should not prevent app creators from placing appropriate links and buttons.
A dispute now looms over how to interpret this decision. Apple warns that some developers, in the company’s view, interpreted the judge’s decision too generously and wanted full alternative payments packages behind the links. As the company argues, this could allow malicious developers to misuse user data, while Apple can’t prevent this.
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