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Apple denies violating court order over alternative payments

Claims Epic wants court to "micromanage Apple’s business operations in a way that would increase Epic’s profitability"

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Apple has disputed Epic Games' claims that it is violating the court order from the 2021 antitrust trial between the two companies, and has called on a federal judge to reject the Fortnite firm's request to hold Apple in contempt of court.

In a filing to Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, spotted by Reuters, the iOS firm insisted it takes the court's orders "very seriously," and detailed the changes it has made since both Apple and Epic's appeals against the 2021 ruling were rejected in January.

Judge Rogers oversaw the trial and made the ruling in question.

Epic called for Apple to be held in contempt last month, claiming that the alternative payment links now allowed on iOS are "commercially unusable" and "entirely useless."

In the 2021 trial, Epic won on only one of ten counts: that Apple should be prohibited from banning links to direct and alternative payment systems, forcing developers to use iOS' built-in system that entitles Apple to 30% of all transactions.

Apple has enabled this since the rejection of its appeal, but developers must apply for an 'entitlement' before they can include these links, they are limited to displaying links once in the app and once on the App Store page, and Apple will claim 27% of any revenue from purchases made through these links.

The iOS offered more details on this new commission, saying the "great majority" (an estimated 84%) of developers of all App Store transactions "will remain free and incur no commission at all."

Over 90% of developers that qualify for Apple's Small Business Program, plus developers offering subscriptions through their apps will pay a 12% commission on digital purchases that "take place on the developer’s website within seven days after a user taps through an External Purchase Link." The 27% will apply to all other developers.

Apple also claims the entitlement system has been built to ensure users "enjoy a safe and secure iOS experience."

The filing continued: "Epic, in contrast, is not seeking to enforce the extant Injunction; rather, its complaints about the new framework ask this Court to micromanage Apple’s business operations in a way that would increase Epic’s profitability.

"But the financial interests of one developer should not override the interests of other developers or users, nor the interest of Apple, in maintaining a safe, secure, and efficient ecosystem."

The iOS further claimed that Epic's motion is "its latest attempt to gain access to the iOS platform and userbase for free," noting that Epic has not suggested an "an alternative amount that Apple should be allowed to charge developers for use of and access to its tools and technologies."

Epic is not the only company fighting Apple on this; shortly after the Fortnite firm filed its request, three major tech firms — Microsoft, Meta and X — plus dating service Match jointly filed their support for Epic's request.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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