Justice – Apple is trying to delay the implementation of a court ruling that would allow more app developers to sell digital items to their users bypassing the company. Apple argues that this threatens harm to consumers.
The integrity of the App Store platform is also at risk, according to court documents published over the weekend. The verdict came at the beginning of September in the process between Apple and Epic Games, the company that produced the popular online game “Fortnite”. Epic has already appealed against it – and now Apple too.
Apple had largely prevailed in the process. But the judge also decided that Apple should no longer prohibit developers from advising users of ways to buy the items cheaper outside the app store. According to the ruling, this change should take effect on December 9th, Apple demands that it be suspended for the time being.
Apple basically allows the purchase of digital goods – such as virtual items in game apps – via the in-house payment platform. A fee of 15 or 30 percent is due to the group. Apple argues, among other things, that the process would protect users from attempted fraud and misuse of their data. Some app developers criticize that the figure is unjustifiably high.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers came to the conclusion that Apple was entitled to charge a commission in its app store. And she also rejected Epic’s request to open the platform to other app stores. But she saw an infringement of competition in the fact that Apple forbade developers to refer users to cheaper purchase opportunities elsewhere. Therefore, Apple should not prevent the app makers from placing appropriate links and buttons.
A dispute is now looming over how this decision can be interpreted. Apple warns that some developers, from the Group’s point of view, interpreted the judge’s decision too generously and wanted to pack entire alternative payment processes behind the links. As the company argues, this could allow malicious developers to misuse user data, while Apple could not prevent this.