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Meta, Microsoft, X and Match join Epic Games in protest against fees for links to non-App Store purchases

Julie Clover

Meta, Microsoft, X and Match today joined Epic Games to protest Apple's handling of a court order requiring it to rescind its anti-steering rules. In an amicus brief in support of ‌Epic Games‌ (via The Wall Street Journal), four companies said the fees Apple charges are too high and that there are too many restrictions on how developers link to their websites. “Apple's plan does not comply with either the letter or the spirit of this court's mandate,” the brief states.
For context, Apple was ordered to change its App Store rules in 2021 as part of the ‌Epic Games‌ happening. The judge challenged anti-regulatory rules that prevented apps from encouraging consumers to cut prices available outside the ‌App Store‌. Apple delayed implementing the changes while attempting to appeal the decision, but the appeal was unsuccessful and Apple was forced to update its rules in January.

Developers are now allowed to include one link in their app, with that link leading to a website where customers can make a purchase without using the in-app purchase system. Apple still charges a fee for purchases made this way, requiring developers to pay between 12 and 27 percent (three percent below the standard 15/30 fee).

‌Epic Games‌ last week told the court that Apple had not complied with the order and that the Cupertino company should be held liable for contempt of court. ‌Epic Games‌ stated that Apple's implementation makes links “commercially unviable” due to the fee and “the accompanying web of restrictions.”

Microsoft, Meta, X and Match also complained that Apple does not allow apps to include “even the most basic information » about alternative purchasing options. Apple doesn't allow apps to tell customers how to get a discount by making a purchase, for example, directly on a website.

Meta said it should be able to direct users online to pay for promoted posts. to avoid Apple's fees, and Microsoft complained that Apple's rules limited its ability to offer subscriptions and discounts. X, formerly Twitter, said Apple's 27 percent commission removes incentives to include an external link, while Match said the rules prevent price competition in digital transactions.

In January, Apple said that it fully complies with the injunction and that it has given developers the ability to inform customers about alternative purchasing mechanisms both within and outside of their apps.

The amicus brief filed today supports ‌Epic Games‌&# 39; recent submission. ‌Epic Games‌ asked the court to force Apple to conform its policies to the injunction, so the court will have to decide whether changing Apple's rules is enough to satisfy the requirements of the original decision.

Tags: App Store , Epic Games, Epic Games v. Apple Guide, Meta, Microsoft, Twitter[181 comments]

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