Blow for Apple in its lawsuit against Epic Games: it will have to allow alternative payment methods in the App Store

Apple and Epic Games Law Battle

The legal battle between Epic Games and Apple has closed a chapter, after a sentence that condemns the former to pay, and the latter to change their practices.

For users, the most important part of the ruling is that the judge has directly attacked the methods used by Apple to keep its platform closed, and has included specific changes that the company will have to make in the App Store.

The legal process began when Epic Games published an update to the Fortnite video game that added the purchase of virtual currencies directly through its website, thus skipping the payment through the App Store; Apple requires in its rules that all developers use its platform for payments, thus pocketing 30% of all purchases (or 15% for smaller developers). Apple expelled Epic Games and its games, and in response Epic sued for abuse of dominance.

The outcome of the trial will not leave either of them happy. Technically it is a victory for Apple, since the judge has ruled in its favor in all the accusations of Epic Games, and will force the latter to make a large payment; specifically, the developer will have to pay 30% of the more than 12 million dollars that Epic Games obtained between August and October 2020, in addition to 30% of everything that Epic Games has entered from November to the date of the trial, With interests. In addition, it considers the rest of the accusations null and void.

However, everything indicates that this is a Pyrrhic victory for Apple, since in the long term it may be more affected. And is that the only part in which the judge has not sided with Apple is in the control it has over its App Store, and has imposed harsh restrictions on what the company can do.

Specifically, Apple will not be able to prohibit developers from including alternative payment methods to the App Store in their apps, and Apple will even have to allow the use of buttons, external links and other methods to take users to other mechanisms of payment.

In other words, Apple has just lost what it has been fighting for years, absolute control of payments on its platform. Fortnite, for example, should be allowed in theory, even with payments through the Epic Games website. But it is a decision that will affect absolutely all iPhone app developers, who will now be able to earn direct income. Google may even be forced to change its policy on Android accordingly.

However, the story is not over. Apple has 90 days to apply these changes, but hopefully it will file an appeal, probably not to the whole but to that particular part. In fact, it is also possible that Epic Games appeal not to have to pay. Therefore, there is still much to write about this case.