Apple Ordered to Allow External Payment Options on App Store by December 9th
Published · Nov 10, 2021
The judge in the Epic v. Apple case ordered Apple to allow external payment options on App Store. The judge has done so, denying an “indefinite stay” requested by Apple. This represents a loss for the company in a case that has otherwise been a win.
The original lawsuit was brought forward by Epic after Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store. Epic instituted changes to the game to bypass Apple’s payment gate, causing the removal.
The court decided that Apple was within its rights to remove the game. However, it ruled in Epic’s favor on the point that Apple should allow third parties to inform consumers about other payment options apart from Apple’s gateway. Apple disputed this, requesting an indefinite stay while it rewrote its “anti-steering policy.”
The judge dismissed the request pointing out that an “indefinite stay” could take years. As such, Apple has until December 9th to implement the changes. It now plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit for a stay.
Security or Monopoly?
Apple claims that its anti-steering policy, which currently prevents services on its store from directing consumers to third parties, is in the interest of security.
By containing the user experience to the App Store, Apple says it can protect them from scams like phishing or malware installation. Phishing and malware are serious concerns. It’s estimated that nearly 1.5 million phishing sites are created every month.
Apple maintains a contained environment in its App Store and argues that allowing third-party links could make users vulnerable. This is true to an extent. However, it doesn’t mean Apple can’t allow third-party payment options and offer security through a rigorous approval process.
Critics argue that the company just wants to protect its share, as it takes a 30% commission. Apple made $274 billion in revenue in 2020. It certainly wouldn’t want to dial back on the things that contributed to it.
It seems unlikely that Apple will be granted the stay. Seeing as the deadline for implementation is December 9th, it won’t be long until the outcome is seen.
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.