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App Store Can’t Ban Alternative Payments, Judge Rules At Epic vs. Apple

Apple cannot stop developers from offering third-party payments that avoid in-app purchase fees, following the Epic v. Apple judge’s ruling after months of discussion. Apple cannot prevent developers from including external links that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms in addition to in-app purchases, and developers can also communicate with customers through points of contact voluntarily obtained from customers through account registration.

Last year, Epic updated the Fortnite add-on with its own in-app payment system, bypassing Apple, and then was removed from the App Store for violating its policies. This led to Epic’s antitrust lawsuit. A similar case will take place against Google.

According to injunction Uploaded by user Facets, the court did not recognize Apple as a monopoly, and, as noted in ProtocolApple came out of the solution almost unscathed, but one of the central policies of the App Store was banned. Apple does not seem to require explicit authorization for other forms of payment, but developers can link to websites with cheaper deals or the same price without paying Apple its fees.

The decision came shortly after Epic Games asked Apple to reinstate the Fortnite developer account and re-release the game on iOS in South Korea, offering payment to both Epic and Apple, which Apple quickly turned down.

This decision is the result of years of struggles between Apple and Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, and the fee charged by Apple for in-app purchases. Epic described this as an unfair monopoly tax.

During the trial, which began in May, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers questioned Apple CEO Tim Cook and said that the revenue Apple makes from game developers “seems disproportionate.” Cook responded that Apple’s online marketplace would turn into a toxic mess uncontrollably.

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