Published in Mobiles

Apple starts to panic over Fortnite ruling

by on27 August 2021

Already loosening up restrictions

Fruity cargo cult Apple seems to be panicking that a court will rule against its glorious app store business model and is trying to loosen things up.

Apple agreed to loosen App Store restrictions on small developers, striking a deal in a class-action lawsuit as the iPhone maker awaits a ruling by the same judge in a separate App Store dispute brought by the developer behind "Fortnite".

The deal includes changes in how all developers can communicate with customers, an issue highlighted by the judge herself in the Fortnite case.

During the Epic-Apple trial in May, Gonzalez Rogers had criticized Apple's rules, even though Epic had not made them a centerpiece of its case.

"Apple's hiding of that information in a way that is not directly reflected to the consumer seems to be anticompetitive", she said.

Apple kept intact most of the App Store business practices that have been challenged in courts and legislatures and only wrote a cheque for $100 million which is really nothing.

Things had been going well for Apple after a US Supreme Court case that allowed companies to bar their business partners from steering customers toward alternative payment methods which would have made the case harder to defend.

The smaller software developers brought the lawsuit in 2019, alleging that Apple broke antitrust laws with practices such as charging commissions of up to 30 percent.

Apple said it has reached a proposed settlement that covers US developers that made $1 million a year or less under which the developers release all claims that Apple's commissions were too high.

However the bigger case is the much higher-profile antitrust case filed by Fortnite creator Epic Games.

As part of the Thursday deal, Apple said it will make changes to the App Store, including extending for three years a change made last year that lowers commissions for smaller developers to 15 percent.

Developers have long been able to take other forms of payment outside of their apps to avoid commissions to Apple, and some, like Netflix eschew Apple's in-app payment system.

But Apple maintains strict rules against developers using contact information gleaned from customers who sign up via the App Store to later tell those customers about alternative payment methods, which are often priced lower because they do not require fees to Apple.

Smaller developers without Netflix's name recognition have long objected that Apple's restrictions prevented them from establishing direct billing relationships with customers.

Last modified on 27 August 2021
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