Apple has failed to properly comply with a court order that requires non-App Store purchasing options be made available to third-party developers, Epic Games has told a judge (via Bloomberg).
The Supreme Court earlier this month declined to hear separate requests from both Apple and Epic Games in their three-year-long lawsuit against each other regarding App Store rules. As a result, Apple is able to continue to disallow third-party payment processing within apps, but it must allow developers to direct customers to a non-App Store purchasing option for digital goods.
Apple has since made changes to its U.S. App Store policies, and now allows apps to feature a single link to a developer website that leads to an in-app purchase alternative. However, Apple plans to continue to collect a 12 to 27 percent commission on content bought this way. The commission applies to transactions for digital goods and services that take place on a developers website within seven days after a user taps through an External Purchase Link to an external website.
Epic likely wishes to contest this aspect of the change in particular, as well as Apple’s implementation of them. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on January 16 took to X (formerly Twitter) to criticize the changes as soon as they were announced, and said that it would dispute Apple’s “bad-faith compliance plan” in District Court.
A quick summary of glaring problems we’ve found so far:
1) Apple has introduced an anticompetitive new 27% tax on web purchases. Apple has never done this before, and it kills price competition. Developers can’t offer digital items more cheaply on the web after paying a… pic.twitter.com/YkHuapG7xa
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) January 16, 2024
According to Bloomberg, Epic said in a filing Tuesday that it “disputes Apple’s compliance” with previously ordered changes and said it will explain the “non-compliance” in a forthcoming filing.
Meanwhile, Apple wants Epic Games to pay $73.4 million in legal fees after Apple won the antitrust case brought against it by the North Carolinian games maker. Apple bases the claim on Epic’s original violation of its developer agreement, when its Fortnite game offered an in-app payment alternative on the App Store. Epic previously accepted that it would owe damages if it lost its antitrust claims against Apple. Now that it has, Apple has issued the bill.
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