App Store developers can link to payment methods outside the store, avoiding Apple's 30% fee, court rules in 'Fortnite' case
- Epic Games brought a lawsuit against Apple after "Fortnite" was removed from the App Store in 2020.
- On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that Apple's "anti-steering" provision was uncompetitive.
Developers using Apple's App Store are now allowed to bypass its 30% commission fee by steering users to their own payment systems, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
While much of Monday's ruling went in Apple's favor, the court ruled that the company violated unfair competition laws with its "anti-steering" provision, which prevented developers from encouraging users to make payments outside the app.
"Epic is a competing games distributor and would earn additional revenue but for Apple's restrictions," said the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. It added that Apple could not enforce the anti-steering provision against any developer.
However, Apple still has plenty to celebrate because the court ruled that it wasn't violating antitrust laws, the main focus of Epic Games' complaint.
The panel said Epic Games failed to show how Apple could have implemented "alternative means for Apple to accomplish the pro-competitive justifications supporting iOS's walled garden ecosystem."
And it also ruled that there's nothing wrong with Apple forcing developers to use its own iOS payment system rather than one they created themself, like Epic did.
Apple called it a "resounding victory" but added: "We respectfully disagree with the court's ruling on the one remaining claim under state law and are considering further review," per CNN.
Tim Sweeney, the Epic Games CEO, tweeted: "Apple prevailed at the 9th Circuit Court."
"Fortunately, the court's positive decision rejecting Apple's anti-steering provisions frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there," he added.
The ruling comes after Elon Musk stoked discussions about the App Store's 30% fee last November, soon after he took over Twitter. The Twitter Blue subscription costs $8 on the web, but $11 on the app to account for Apple's fees.
But that was settled in December after Musk met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, calling it all a "misunderstanding."
Apple did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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