Wednesday, Nov 10, 2021, 15:55 Economy

Court's Decision Concerning App Store – A Big Blow To Apple

For Apple, the current battle is of great significance. Cupertino obviously won't willingly depart from its currently very profitable business and billing model for the App Store platform. The matter, which began with Epic Games', revolves around the App Store's ban on "3rd party app stores and in-app purchases". Since Apple's battle with Fortnite creator Epic Games, the App Store and some Apple policies/practices have received more scrutiny in The United States. The App Store's regulations essentially subject developers to a 30% commission to Apple with every sale via the App Store – and developers are left with no other option for distributing apps on the iOS/iPadOS. As of two months ago, judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers overseeing the matter declared that Apple would have to come up with a different payment method. Although Apple's App Store isn't necessarily a monopoly, the current conditions do create an "anti-competitive" environment in violation of anti-trust laws.

Apple's Procrastination Wins No Points
Apple received 90 days time to come up with a solution allowing developers on the App Store to use their own payment service for sales. However, Apple tried to delay the matter even further and asked for more time – the company essentially argued that the allotted time wasn't enough to come up with and implement an adequate solution. Now, there's an official judgement and it's not in Apple's favor. Given that Apple provided no new arguments, the answer to the request for more time is a resounding "no". The required change to the App Store platform's ToS will need to take place by December.

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Apple's Request Lacking – No New Facts
As per Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, Apple did not make any adequate argument concerning the conditions of the former (and still in-place) judgement to warrant any reconsideration. Additionally, not a single part of Apple's request addresses how the company plans to alleviate the anti-competitive environment created by the App Store's current conditions. Therefore, Apple's appeal is fundamentally lacking and insubstantial. Cupertino also failed to indicate how much more time it might "need" before it would be able to adequately address the problem at hand in a manner adhering with the previous judgement. One passage mentions a request for only 10 more days, which would essentially extend the App Store's current conditions for commissions past Christmas. The request was viewed as an attempt to save commission revenue from Christmas sales rather than an honest objection made in good faith.

Apple failed to deliver any new or believable arguments as to why allowing external payment models would lead to any kind of previously described "havoc". The company had previously argued that allowing such external payment models might provide ill-willed developers or other parties with an opportunity to scam customers out of their hard-earned money over a platform run by and associated with Apple – however, every link to an external payment method can be checked by Apple during the review process (where Apple determines whether or not an app satisfies the App Store's ToS and either rejects or approves it), and modern-day customers are also much less likely to get scammed thanks to being more accustomed to paying online now than in the past – as per the judge. In addition to all these points comes yet one more fact – Apple already allows some providers to use external payment models and the process has been shown to work fine. If Apple wants to make things more attractive for developers so that they continue to rely on in-app purchases subject to Apple's commission, then the company should simply lower its fee.

Cupertino Refuses To Admit Defeat
Apple has already announced intentions to continue the fight and bring the proceedings before a higher court. However, the company could have just passed its last chance to determine its own system in accordance with the court for the future of the App Store – before a decision is forced by a court. A postponement of the entire ordeal would have been entirely possible as Cupertino had hoped, were Apple to have come up with an adequate excuse and shown concrete steps taken towards combatting the problem – or even simply lowered commission for all developers from the currently "extremely high fees with no real equivalent". Thus far, it appears as if Apple is fighting for every possible day to keep its fees at 30%.

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