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posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 14, @07:51AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the discount++ dept.

Apple can no longer force developers to use in-app purchasing, judge rules:

A U.S. judge on Friday issued a ruling in "Fortnite" creator Epic Games' antitrust lawsuit against Apple's App Store, striking down some of Apple's restrictions on how developers can collect payments in apps.

The ruling says that Apple cannot bar developers from providing buttons or links in their apps that direct customers to other ways to pay outside of Apple's own in-app purchase system, which charges developers commissions of up to 30 percent. The ruling also said that Apple cannot ban developers from communicating with customers via contact information that the developers obtained when customers signed up within the app.

The ruling comes after a three-week trial in May before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Apple shares moved down about 2.5 percent on news of the decision.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by darkfeline on Tuesday September 14, @08:12AM (10 children)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday September 14, @08:12AM (#1177640) Homepage

    This means that Apple cannot charge commissions any more period. It will take a while for the libraries/stackoverflow answers to roll out to all the developers, but why let Apple take a cut when you can list an app for free and immediately ask for the real app price when the app is first started, via an external payment processor.

    Good news for users, at least for the short term. Apple is going to recoup its lost revenue one way or another, and it's not like those in the walled garden have any alternative.

    This recalls the Vizcaino v. Microsoft Corp case, where contractors sued Microsoft for being treated worse than full time employees, and as a result contractors are now treated even worse than before. Beware the unintended consequence.

    --
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    • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday September 14, @08:19AM (6 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @08:19AM (#1177641) Journal

      This means that Apple cannot charge commissions any more period.

      Oh, they can. At the application purchase. The judge said nothing about the monopoly of distributing the app (obtaining and installing the application for the customer) and/or the updates for it. Perhaps the "adv revenue" as well, we haven't heard anything in this regards too.

      It's only the in-app purchases and extra content that the judge banned.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Tuesday September 14, @09:42AM (5 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Tuesday September 14, @09:42AM (#1177648)

        OK, then the app is free to download from the Apple store, and if you want to use this or that gimmick to work, here's an external purchasing option that will mail an unlock code to you.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Tuesday September 14, @09:57AM (3 children)

          by looorg (578) on Tuesday September 14, @09:57AM (#1177649)

          Couldn't Apple just institute some kind of listing fee for having the app in the store? None of that dodgy free to download stuff in their walled garden.

          • (Score: 5, Touché) by Opportunist on Tuesday September 14, @10:35AM (2 children)

            by Opportunist (5545) on Tuesday September 14, @10:35AM (#1177654)

            Only if they allow sideloading, or else the next antitrust suit is coming.

            • (Score: 5, Interesting) by canopic jug on Tuesday September 14, @12:33PM (1 child)

              by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @12:33PM (#1177673) Journal

              "Sideloading" used to be called "installation" of software. By getting people to call the old activity by a new name, they can shift the public's attitudes and diminish their expectations. Installing software is normal. Apple wants the public to think that it is dodgy or illegal. It's part of their front in the ongoing war against general purpose computing.

              --
              Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
              • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday September 14, @04:45PM

                by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday September 14, @04:45PM (#1177754) Journal

                Is that like when you call a new OSHA workplace safety policy that doesn't even require a vaccine a "vaccine mandate" to make it sound scary?

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday September 14, @09:58AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @09:58AM (#1177650) Journal

          OK, then your development account yearly subscription will carry a price. Plans per size of download, plans per number of downloads.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by helel on Tuesday September 14, @01:47PM (1 child)

      by helel (2949) on Tuesday September 14, @01:47PM (#1177688)

      I think that for allot of smaller developers the trust and convenience for the customer of just paying through the apple store will still be worth the price. If you use the apple store in-app purchase all the customer needs to do is click it, click confirm, and bam, you have their money. If you use an outside service now they're sent over to a website or your application is asking for credit card info directly making the transaction harder and making many customers wary.

      --
      Republican Patriotism [youtube.com]
      • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Tuesday September 14, @03:25PM

        by choose another one (515) on Tuesday September 14, @03:25PM (#1177721)

        And on top of that you now have to setup, maintain and pay for a web presence (which has to be up and available when customer wants to pay), and also contract with a payment service provider (or maybe more than one to cover all parts of the world and all customers). Costs of all that are probably only worth it if your in app purchase volumes are significant.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by EvilSS on Tuesday September 14, @10:03PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @10:03PM (#1177873)
      Ah, no. So this judgement is against Apple steering in app purchases to their payment system. It does not prevent Apple from levying a commission on those purchases, just that Apple can't force the use of their payment network.

      “Apple could still charge a commission on developers. It would simply be more difficult for Apple to collect that commission,” Gonzalez Rogers writes.

      “In such a hypothetical world, developers could potentially avoid the commission while benefitting from Apple’s innovation and intellectual property free of charge. The Court presumes that in such circumstances that Apple may rely on imposing and utilizing a contractual right to audit developers annual accounting to ensure compliance with its commissions, among other methods. Of course, any alternatives to IAP (including the foregoing) would seemingly impose both increased monetary and time costs to both Apple and the developers.”

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday September 14, @03:35PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @03:35PM (#1177728) Journal

    Whew! Google is safe from this. Not a single mention of Android in this.

    --
    Biden needs to mandate an official static TCP port for running 'finger' with TLS 1.3.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by maxwell demon on Tuesday September 14, @06:45PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday September 14, @06:45PM (#1177790) Journal

      Sure, since Google doesn't disallow installation of apps through other means than their app store, they can impose restrictions on the apps in their app store without triggering antitrust. You can just choose to sell through another app store instead, or even put up your own.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Tuesday September 14, @09:50PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @09:50PM (#1177871)
      There is a separate lawsuit between Epic and Google.
  • (Score: 2) by LabRat on Tuesday September 14, @08:02PM

    by LabRat (14896) on Tuesday September 14, @08:02PM (#1177827)
    Updates to outcomes from The Verge:
    1) Epic has appealed Friday’s ruling in the Epic v. Apple case [theverge.com] (contains embedded PDF appeal text)
    2) Apple hasn’t decided whether to appeal the Epic v. Apple ruling [theverge.com]

    Both parties are unhappy, but Apple isn't unhappy enough to snap appeal like Epic.
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