Judge rules Apple must allow developers to use other payment systems

The news: In the high-profiles Epic. vs. Apple bench trial, a judge has now issued a permanent injunction that Apple must tweak a core part of the App Store business model.

  • Per the official ruling, “Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app”
  • In layman’s terms, developers are now allowed to bypass Apple’s 15-30% commission on in-app purchases for the first time, with the injunction going into effect in 90 days
  • A key part of Epic’s argument focused around Apple’s monopolist power with the App Store…but the judge said that this was not found to be the case, a significant blow for the developer (on top of the fact that Apple is not required to reinstate Epic’s App Store account to re-publish their apps)

Our take: I’m quite happy with this outcome, and this is, at the very least, fair. Developers should not be forced to give Apple 15-30% of their entire App Store revenue stream to Apple at this point in the platform’s history.

Apple will finally allow apps to tell you how to sign-up and pay for them…outside of the App Store

The news: In early 2022, Apple plans to allow some apps to direct you off-platform for sign-up and account management…as announced in a new press release.

  • The new changes pertain to “reader,” apps which Apple describes as, “apps provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video”
  • Apps were previously not allowed to ever link to their website for sign-ups or payments as this was skirting App Store rules

Our take: This is huge news for developers…and something that I’m incredibly happy to see myself. Keep in-app purchases as the most secure, default option while also allowing developers to opt-out of this system is what we’ve all been looking forward to seeing. And it starts next year.