The dispute between Apple and the game manufacturer Epic Games has been simmering for some time. Now there was finally a decision in the US federal court in Oakland. The judge in charge ruled in favor of Epic. However, Apple is the big winner of the ruling.
Apple and Fortnite manufacturer Epic Games have been arguing about the regulations of Apple’s App Store for several months now. The main reason is the fees and revenue shares that the iPhone company collects from app providers.
The dispute even led to Apple removing the Fortnite app from the App Store in the meantime. Previously, Epic Games had integrated an alternative payment option to circumvent the Apple fees.
The court case between Apple and Epic Games
Apple and Epic Games have already fought many battles in the US courts. But now it might have come to a final decision. In August 2020, the game maker had filed a lawsuit against Apple. The accusation: Apple had created a closed system with its App Store.
The main issue was the restrictions on in-app purchases, for which Apple did not allow any external payment methods.
Apple, on the other hand, argued that it had created a safe environment for its users with its App Store and the conditions contained therein. Thus, they would dare to buy apps from unknown developers.
But now there is (probably) clarity in this legal dispute. A US federal court in Oakland has now ruled that Apple must open up the payment system in the App Store so that app developers can also offer other payment methods.
Until now, in-app purchases can only be processed via Apple Pay. Apple then pockets 30 percent of the revenue. Already since 2015, Epic founder Tim Sweeney has argued that this is too much.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has now ruled that Apple must accommodate app developers. She said Apple should not prohibit app developers from including buttons or links in their apps that redirect their customers to other payment options.
Apple sees itself as a winner
At the same time, the judge ruled that Apple is not an antitrust monopolist in mobile gaming transactions.
Apple is now portraying itself as a winner. “We are very pleased with the court’s decision and consider this a great victory for Apple,” said chief counsel Kate Adams in a conference call with reporters Friday evening.
For Apple, of course, one point in particular stands out in this ruling: “Let me repeat that: The court found that Apple is not a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust law,” Adams said.