The Federal Supreme Court refuses to hear the Apple vs. Epic Games lawsuit, and although Apple's victory is almost certain, it is necessary to recognize ``payment systems outside the App Store''

In a lawsuit regarding the App Store's anti-competitive terms that Apple and Epic Games have been fighting over for many years, the US Supreme Court has refused to hear individual appeal requests from both companies on January 16, 2024. As a result, the appellate court judgment was finalized in favor of Apple.

Order List (01/16/2024) - 011624zor_e1pf.pdf
(PDF file)

US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Apple vs. Epic Games Case - MacRumors

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The App Store, an iOS app store, has a rule that ``30% of sales such as in-app purchases are collected as a fee,'' and developers have pointed out that the fee is too high. Therefore, in August 2020, Epic Games, which develops the popular game ``Fortnite,'' tried to avoid fees to Apple by creating a unique payment method and inducing links within the app.

However, Apple did not allow in-app purchases outside of the App Store, so they claimed that Epic Games had violated the terms and removed Fortnite from the App Store. In response, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple.

'Fortnite' developer Epic Games sues Apple - GIGAZINE

The first instance judgment handed down in September 2021 stated, ``Epic Games is at fault for implementing its own payment method in Fortnite in violation of Apple's terms.'' , ordered Apple to pay a 30% commission on sales that should have been paid to Epic Games. At the same time, Apple is ordered to allow developers to implement billing methods other than the App Store.

In the lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, a ruling is made that ``App Store should accept payment methods other than Apple'', but some say Apple wins - GIGAZINE

Epic Games was dissatisfied with this ruling and immediately filed an appeal . After about a year and a half of legal battles, the appellate court ruling handed down on April 25, 2023, upheld Apple's claims in 9 out of 10 claims, preventing Apple from violating antitrust laws regarding the App Store. Epic Games' claims of violation were not accepted. However, similar to the first instance ruling, Apple is ordered to ``allow apps distributed on the App Store to provide links to third-party external payment systems.''

Apple vs. Epic Games appellate court rules that ``links to external payment systems cannot be prohibited on the App Store'', but Apple wins in most cases - GIGAZINE

Then, on January 16, 2024, the Federal Supreme Court rejected both Apple and Epic Games' requests to appeal the appellate court's judgment. As a result, the appellate court's judgment remains valid, and Apple can prohibit ``third-party payment processing within apps'' as per the previous terms. However, the app developer must approve the method of ``preparing an external payment system other than the App Store outside the app, guiding the user to a web link within the app, and processing the payment outside the app.''

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said, ``The Supreme Court has dismissed both appeals in the Epic Games v. Apple antitrust law case.'' The legal battle for this has been defeated in the US, which is a sad outcome for all developers.'

Apple has already changed its App Store policy in the United States, allowing developers to provide external payment systems other than the App Store and link users within their apps. However, Apple says it will collect a 12-27% commission on sales from external payment systems. The fee will be applied to digital transactions made within seven days of a user tapping an external purchase link within the app and accessing the external payment system's site. In addition, there are detailed rules for display, such as the display method when directing users to external links for purchases within the app, and in-app warnings that indicate leaving the App Store.

Apple finally allows ``link insertion to external billing system'' in iPhone apps, but fees will be charged - GIGAZINE

in Mobile,   Software,   Web Service, Posted by log1i_yk