Apple suffered a serious setback in the dispute with the game developer Epic Games over its lucrative app store. A US judge in California ruled on Friday that Apple’s actions were partly unlawful. The US group should not prevent developers from building links in their apps that allow customers to make payments outside of Apple’s own in-app purchase system.
Apple charges game developers who offer their products via the Group’s app store up to 30 percent high commissions. In addition, Apple has forbidden developers so far to inform customers about ways in which they can pay the developer directly. Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers has now issued a nationwide order that enables programmers to build modules into their products that guide customers to other purchasing mechanisms.
The ruling also states that Apple cannot prohibit developers from communicating with customers using contact information that the developers received when they signed up within the app.
However, the judge did not comply with the demand from Epic Games, according to which Apple must be forced to open the iPhone to third-party app stores. The dispute escalated when Epic integrated an alternative payment variant into the version of its popular game “Fortnite” in order to bypass the fee levy on Apple and Google. As a result, Apple removed the game from its app store. Epic Games responded with several lawsuits, arguing that Apple had created a closed system with its app store to control the one billion iPhone users and developers.
Meanwhile, Apple had stated that the rules of the App Store had created a huge market in which users felt safe enough to buy apps from unknown developers. Google, the other dominant operating system provider in the world alongside Apple, also demands a high proportion of the app developers’ turnover for itself. Appeals can be lodged against the judgment.
Apple shares turned into the red after the verdict and lost up to four percent within minutes. Google shares were also under pressure, giving up 1 percent of their value.