Apple counters third-party payment links ahead of Epic Games hearing

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The US-based technology giant, Apple has signaled its objections in enabling app developers to link to third-party payment options prior to next month’s hearing which could decide whether a set of antitrust court orders will be put on pause.

Earlier this year, US District Court Judge Ms. Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a ruling after a lengthy trial brought by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games. The verdict largely favored the iPhone maker and upheld its practice of requiring developers to use its in-app payment system, for which it charges commissions.

However, Ms. Gonzalez Rogers expressed her concern that consumers did not have access to information about other ways to pay for apps. She ordered Apple to stop its ban on “buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms” beyond Apple’s own payment systems.

Apple has until December 9 to implement the order, but the company has appealed the ruling and asked the order to be put on hold while the appeal plays out, which could take a year or more. A hearing on the request is set for November 9.

Last day, Apple indicated that its strongest objections are to the requirements to enable buttons and links that provide a “mechanism” for outside payments. The filing offered the first suggestion that Apple objects less strongly to enabling developers to provide information about other ways to pay.

The American technology giant said that links and buttons harm its ability to require developers to use its in-app payments (IAP), which the court upheld.

“Restrictions on linking out are inextricably tied to Apple’s requirement that developers use IAP for purchases of digital content, a requirement this Court considered in detail and upheld against Epic’s challenge,” Apple said.

The company posed fewer objections to in-app messages about other forms of payment but said it may want to “constrain their placement, format, or content” and that the judge’s orders as currently written would not allow it to do so without facing further legal challenges.

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