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Ruling: Apple Can’t Force In-App Purchasing

Apple can’t force developers to use its in-app purchasing, a federal judge ruled on Friday (Sept. 10) following the trial pitting the tech giant against Epic Games, maker of Fortnite.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered an injunction that says Apple can no longer bar developers from setting up links or otherwise communicating in ways that steer users away from Apple’s in-app purchasing. As CNBC reports, this had been a longstanding complaint from developers.

The trial had begun in May, with Epic and Apple fighting over Apple’s App Store policies and the question of whether the larger company hinders competition. While Apple won on nine of 10 counts, it will have to alter its App Store policies and give up some control over in-app purchases. Apple is likely to appeal, per the report.

In the months between the trial and Rogers’ injunction, Apple has made changes aimed at appeasing its critics.

Read more: Apple’s Settlement With Developers May Alter Platforms, Payment Landscapes

As PYMNTS reported last month, Apple settled a $100 million class-action suit brought by app developers in 2019. It significantly alters the way the company interacts with developers and the way developers interact with end users. The settlement, which Apple announced on its blog, says that developers can connect directly with end users via email and give them alternative payment options as those users purchase subscriptions and other offerings.

Epic is one of the staunchest critics of Apple’s control over the iPhone App Store, which imposes stringent rules and requires many developers to use an in-app payment system that takes anywhere from 15-30% of every transaction.

Read more: Australia Greenlights Epic Games Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple

The game maker, which has also sued Apple in Australia, wasn’t seeking money, but rather wanted to install its own app store on iPhones, allowing it to avoid giving Apple its cut and impose its own fees on its games.

Apple had argued that its commission essentially matched that of other digital stores while its fees have dropped over time, and that its policies have led to a software boom and more security and safety for users.

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