New Drama In The Apple’s Epic Legal Battle Just Dropped

New Drama In The Apple’s Epic Legal Battle Just Dropped

Remember a little while back when Epic finally had a very small win in its fight against Apple? The court sided with Apple on 9 of the 10 counts, but still mandated that Apple had to start allowing external payment links in apps, because Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided Apple’s anti-steering policies fell afoul of California’s Unfair Competition Law. Well, Apple recently released the details of how that’s going to work, and to say that developers (especially Epic CEO Tim Sweeney) aren’t happy is an understatement.

In a blog post to developers, Apple has announced that you totally can now put links in your app to get people to pay you money outside the app and away from the App Store’s usual commission. That’s one of the things Epic wanted out of the court case, and is what the judge ordered Apple to do, even though Apple very much does not want to do that. It’s a big and exciting announcement for developers. The only catch is that you have to have your link approved, pay Apple a 27% commission, and give Apple access to periodically audit your books, effectively making it so that absolutely no one will do that.

While it does technically appear to follow the letter of what the judge laid out, many would argue that it goes against the spirit of what the judge was trying to achieve.

Tim Sweeney certainly seems to be deeply unimpressed and, in a development that surprises no one, has said that Epic plans to “contest Apple’s bad-faith compliance plan in District Court”.

In a thread on Twitter (occasionally known as X), user @DHH, aka David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder of Basecamp, unleashed about how he believes this update to be unfair to developers, particularly the threats to take apps out of the App Store if they don’t hand over their books. Given that placement on the App Store can make or break companies that don’t have the power of, say, Fortnite, that’s a pretty massive consequence.

We’ve asked Apple for comment and will update this story when/if we hear back.


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