Meta, Microsoft, X and Match Join Epic Games in Protesting Fees for Non-App Store Purchase Links

Meta, Microsoft, X, and Match today joined Epic Games to protest the way Apple complied with a court ruling requiring it to walk back its anti-steering rules. In an amicus brief in support of ‌Epic Games‌ (via The Wall Street Journal), the four companies said that the fees Apple is charging are too high, and that there are too many restrictions on how developers link to their websites. "The Apple Plan comports with neither the letter nor the spirit of this Court's mandate," reads the brief.

app store blue banner epic 1
For context, Apple was ordered to change its App Store rules in 2021 as part of the decision in the ‌Epic Games‌ case. The judge took issue with the anti-steering guidelines that kept apps from directing consumers to lower prices available outside of the ‌App Store‌. Apple delayed implementing the changes while it attempted to appeal the ruling, but the appeal was not successful and Apple had to update its rules in January.

Developers are now allowed to include a single link in their app, with that link going to a website where customers can make a purchase without using the in-app purchase system. Apple is still collecting commission for purchases made this way, requiring developers to pay between 12 and 27 percent (three percent lower than the standard 15/30 fee).

‌Epic Games‌ last week told the court that Apple has not complied with the order, and that the Cupertino company should be held in contempt of court. ‌Epic Games‌ said that Apple's implementation makes links "commercially unusable" due to the fee and the "accompanying web of restrictions."

Microsoft, Meta, X, and Match further complained that Apple is not allowing apps to include "even the most basic information" about alternative purchase options. Apple does not allow apps to let customers know about how to receive a discount by purchasing directly from a website, for example.

Meta said that it should be able to direct users to the web to pay for boosted posts to avoid Apple's fee, and Microsoft complained that Apple's rules limit options for providing subscriptions and discounts. X, formerly Twitter, said that Apple's 27 percent fee eliminates incentives to include an external link, while Match claimed that the rules prevent price competition for digital transactions.

Apple in January claimed that it was in full compliance with the injunction, and that it has given developers a way to inform customers about alternative purchase mechanisms both in their apps and outside of their apps.

The amicus brief filed today supports ‌Epic Games‌' recent filing. ‌Epic Games‌ has asked the court to force Apple to bring its policies into compliance with the injunction, so it will be up to the court to decide whether Apple's rule change does enough to satisfy the requirements of the initial judgment.

Top Rated Comments

Rogifan Avatar
3 weeks ago
So if I go to Netflix’s website via Safari and sign up for a subscription Apple gets nothing but if I click a link in the app that takes me to their subscription page Apple gets 27%? Why?
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
truthsteve Avatar
3 weeks ago
a bit rich coming from a company that doesn't allow third party stores on xbox which Tim Sweeney seems to not want to fight because they can't risk all of their clients losing access to unreal engine on a major platform lmao

Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
3 weeks ago
Well if those companies don't like the policy, they can just all become phone manufacturers and set their own unfair policies, amirite fellow self-hating consumers?
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bcortens Avatar
3 weeks ago

So if I go to Netflix’s website via Safari and sign up for a subscription Apple gets nothing but if I click a link in the app that takes me to their subscription page Apple gets 27%? Why?
This point is primarily why I think this link charge is bogus, Apple just seems to be doing it out of spite.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stromos Avatar
3 weeks ago

So if I go to Netflix’s website via Safari and sign up for a subscription Apple gets nothing but if I click a link in the app that takes me to their subscription page Apple gets 27%? Why?
This one is simple to me. If you download an app and you are already a customer Apple gets nothing seems fine to me.

If you download an app and you are a new customer then the app being marketed by Apple App Store has brought developer xyz business. Apple gets a cut.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
torartc Avatar
3 weeks ago
I don't know why more companies wouldn't join up to fight the anti competitive behavior.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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