Epic vs Apple, verdict delivered: Apple will no longer be able to impose its in-app payment system

The verdict in the lawsuit between Epic and Apple is in. The studio behind Fortnite has managed to obtain justice that it prohibits the Cupertino company from requiring the use of its in-app purchase system integrated into the App Store. However, Epic has experienced some setbacks.

The legal dispute between Apple and Epic, which publishes the successful video game Fortnite, has just ended with, for the most part, the victory of the second over the first. The judgment rendered by the American magistrate Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers on September 10 indeed requires the Cupertino company to stop preventing application developers from overriding the integrated payment system of the App Store.

In fact, Apple must let these developers include, if they wish, buttons, links or any other equivalent means to direct their customers to purchase options outside the ecosystem of the American company. In other words, the Cupertino company should no longer impose on them Apple’s in-app payment system, via which it collects commissions of varying amounts.

App Store
The app leading to the App Store on an iPhone. // Source: Yun Ho Lee

The injunction made by Apple will take effect in 90 days. It is likely that by then the consumer electronics giant will appeal to challenge the judgment’s findings. The commissions that Apple collects with its in-app system are a source of income for the group, as they reach 15 or 30% of the value of the purchase (the rate applied depends on various factors, including the year or number business).

This decision, unless overturned on appeal, is likely to have long-term consequences for the American brand, because it will undoubtedly lead to the questioning of this economic model – applications will certainly want to detach themselves from it in order to try to free up additional margins. Perhaps not all of them will switch, but the most lucrative probably.

Epic lost on other boards

However, Epic has not been a hit. If he was able to question the hegemony of the App Store payment system, American justice condemned the video game studio to pay Apple over $ 12.1 million in damages for the loss of revenue caused by Epic’s decision to bypass in-app purchases with Fortnite between August and October 2020.

Moreover, the trial could not establish the monopolistic nature of Apple. ” Success is not illegal. The trial record did not include evidence of other critical factors, such as barriers to entry […]. The court does not conclude that it is impossible, but only that Epic Games has failed to demonstrate that Apple is in an illicit monopoly position “, We read in the verdict.

In a press release, Apple also insists on this point: Epic has failed to prove a monopoly position during the debates. ” Today the court confirmed what we knew from the start: the app store does not violate antitrust law Says the brand to the apple. ” Apple faces stiff competition in all segments where it operates “.

Apple Store
Apple escapes the heaviest long-term accusation that there is a monopoly with the App Store. // Source: Guilhem Vellut

Epic Games has sought to break out of the shackles imposed by Apple on the App Store over payments, which has sparked a legal row with Apple. The tone rose between the two parties, not without provocation, and Epic ended up taking the lead in the sling against Apple, participating in a coalition, alongside Spotify, Deezer, Tinder or Meetic, who were also the door – voices of small developers.

Faced with these criticisms, and after having banned in the meantime Fortnite from the App Store, Apple began to drop ballast in November 2020 by lowering its commission to 15% for companies generating less than a million dollars per year. This had been seen as a tactical maneuver to appease them and especially to break the front of the protesters. Epic, along with others, had protested against this announcement.

Other concessions then followed, always with the idea of ​​releasing ballast to reduce the pressure: in August, several proposals were made, followed, in September, by another train of announcements. These adjustments were not intended so much to change the lawsuit against Epic Games, but to contain other legal actions and, above all, to keep regulators at bay.

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