App Store Cannot Ban Alternative Payments, Court Rules in Epic Vs Apple

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Epic Games’ case against Apple has finally come to an end after the judge delivered the ruling that Epic Games failed to prove the validity of their claims against Apple. However, the court also issued an order to Apple to do away with its rules to block other payment methods in the App Store.

Moreover, voicing concern regarding the consumers’ choices, the court also issued an injunction that prohibits Apple from having rules for other payment systems. Apple’s head of the software department, Craig Federighi made arguments for the necessity of the strict controls, but the presiding judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did not approve it. In the court, Federighi made the argument that Apple only has malware data collection tools for Macs and none whatsoever for iOS. However, the fact that Apple has always boasted for its Mac platform is secure and protected from malware attacks, the judge found Federighi’s comments to be less credible.

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The injunction, moreover, relates that developers are hereby permanently restricted from including buttons, external links, or other calls to action in their apps so that they cannot guide the customers into the purchase mechanism; but more importantly, “Communicate with customers through contact points voluntarily obtained by the customer’s account registration in the app.”

Apple’s App Store Rule 3.1.1, now mentioned, “Apps and their metadata must not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that lead customers to purchase mechanisms other than in-app purchases.” The court document concerning this reads, “The court will retain the jurisdiction over the enforcement and amendment of the injunction. If any part of this order is violated by any party or any other person mentioned in this document, the plaintiff can apply for sanctions or other possible appropriate relief by notifying the defendant’s lawyer.”

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What the court issued ban really mean for Apple is that from now on, Apple cannot prohibit its developers from adding external links which will guide the users to purchase, Apple is also not allowed to stop the developers from adding calls to action so that the customers get to the point of purchase mechanisms in application metadata, Apple is also now allowed to prohibit the developers from adding buttons which will take the customers to their purchase mechanisms within the apps.

Although there are debates over what the ‘buttons and external links’ exactly mean, developers, are certain that it can only refer to how something works. Naturally, Apple’s definition of the same is quite different.

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