Russ Cohen

Apple Changes App Store Policies Apple Opens Door for US Developers – External Payment Platforms Now Accessible

Apple’s Policy Update

In a surprising move, tech giant Apple Inc. has announced major revisions to its App Store’s regulations, allowing U.S. developers to integrate external payment platform links. As per the updated guidelines reported by The Verge, developers are still required to pay Apple a percentage of the transaction, set at 27% (down from the usual 30%) or 12% for members of the App Store Small Business Program.

Implications for Developers

Developers seeking to implement alternative payment methods are mandated to apply for an “entitlement” under Section 3.1.1(a) of the App Store Review Guidelines. They must also provide Apple’s in-app purchase system alongside external payment options. The adjustment comes in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Apple and Epic Games appeals, ultimately leading to Apple being directed to end its anti-steering rules.

Response from Epic Games

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, has openly criticized Apple’s new policies, branding the 27% fee as “anticompetitive” and denouncing the regulations governing the appearance and functionality of the links. Sweeney has also raised concerns over the “scare screen” that users encounter when leaving an app to visit an external site.

Under the Legal Lens

The recent changes in Apple’s App Store policies stem directly from the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Epic Games v. Apple case. While this move reflects Apple’s compliance with the Court’s directive to permit developers to utilize external payment methods, Epic Games remains dissatisfied and intends to challenge Apple’s implementation plan in the District Court.

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