Apple has been ordered by a court to allow developers to direct consumers to external payment methods for mobile apps, in a decision that deals a severe blow to the iPhone maker.
On Friday, a US federal judge granted an injunction sought by the maker of Fortnite Epic Games, while also ordering the game maker to pay damages to Apple for breach of contract. The order could significantly reduce the profitability of the App Store: According to analysts, the App Store brings in more than 20 billion dollars (17 billion euros) per year with a profit margin above 75%.
The move is a significant setback for the world’s most valuable company, as it faces increasing antitrust scrutiny from global lawmakers and regulators. Apple is expected to appeal, setting the stage for the fight to continue for at least a year and eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Apple recently made modest concessions amid criticism of its market dominance, including allowing developers of media apps like Netflix to link from its App Store to external websites for user payments and allowing developers to more easily promote alternative pricing plans and ways to pay – without Apple taking a stake.
Still, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ ruling is a wake-up call for California-based society as lawmakers and regulators examine role of Apple and other big tech companies as stewards of the economy. digital. It could also open the floodgates to legal action seeking millions of dollars in damages.
Evidence presented in the three-week Epic trial in Oakland, Calif., Sheds harsh light on the power of the technology and will help build a larger case against Apple and other tech giants, including Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook.
Epic sued Apple in August 2020, after the iPhone maker removed the Fortnite game from its App Store because the games company created a workaround to pay a 30% fee on customers’ in-app purchases. Epic was not seeking monetary damages, but sought a court order to end what it called Apple’s “illegal restrictions” on competition.
The outcome of the lawsuit will not be the game maker’s last word in his global campaign against the world’s most valuable company.
Epic, which recovered more than $ 5 billion (€ 4.2 billion) from Fortnite last year, has also filed complaints against Apple in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Australia, and the game maker is suing Google for its Google Play Store.