Tech giants join Epic Games in accusing Apple of violating court order

They argue that Apple’s actions support anti-steering rules, maintain high commissions, and harm consumers and developers.

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Several major tech companies, including Meta Platforms, Microsoft, X, Spotify, and Match Group, have filed legal petitions challenging Apple’s app store policies. These companies, which boast some of the most popular apps on the platform, object to Apple’s compliance with a federal court ruling that instructed the tech giant to allow alternative payment methods.

Apple’s app store policies have long been criticised for charging up to a 30% commission on purchases, a rate developers deem excessive. Although Apple announced plans in January to allow developers to process purchases outside of its app store, it faced backlash when it revealed it would still charge a 27% commission in such cases. The move came after the US Supreme Court declined to hear appeals of a 2021 ruling ordering Apple to allow alternative payment methods.

In response to Apple’s actions, Epic Games filed a petition seeking enforcement of the court’s decision. In a joint amicus briefing, several tech giants argue that Apple’s response to the court ruling maintains existing rules and even imposes new restrictions on app developers.

According to the amicus briefing, Apple’s plan restricts developers from providing basic information about alternative payment options. This limitation affects various aspects of app monetisation, including subscriptions, discounts, and advertising. The filing contends that Apple’s policies impede price competition and undermine efforts to improve digital transactions’ fairness.

Apple has defended its actions, stating it fully complied with the court order and implemented systems to inform users about alternate purchasing methods while prioritising user privacy and security. However, legal experts suggest Apple’s changes may not align with the court’s intent, potentially leading to further legal challenges. Additionally, Apple faces scrutiny from the Justice Department regarding its business practices, including its app store policies, and an investigation on compliance with the Digital Markets Act in Europe.