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Epic Games Slams Apple’s ‘Useless’ Payment Mechanisms

Epic Games, Apple, app store

Epic Games reportedly wants Apple held in contempt over its outside payment offerings. 

The Fortnite maker has asked a judge to hold Apple in contempt of court, saying the company has failed to adhere to a ruling requiring it to open its App Store to third-party payment options, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday (March 13), citing court documents.

Apple agreed earlier this year to permit third-party apps sold in the U.S. to link to a developer website to process payments for in-app purchases, coming after the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to weigh in on a three-year court battle between Epic and the iPhone maker.

While Apple followed through, Epic’s court filing accuses the company of making the links “commercially unusable” thanks to a series of rules and fees.

“Apple’s new scheme so pervasively taxes, regulates, restricts and burdens in-app links directing users to alternative purchasing mechanisms on a developer’s website,” the filing said, adding that this makes them “entirely useless.”

Epic also claims Apple is blocking developers for employing external links resembling a button, and prevents them from issuing written statements about making purchases on the web instead of the App Store. Epic also argued Apple’s guidelines still contain language keeping apps that operate across multiple platforms from steering users to other payment options.

In a statement issued to PYMNTS, Apple said it has “fully complied” with the court’s ruling, and that it polices external links to protect user privacy and the integrity of its ecosystem, and to “promote the flow of information, avoid user confusion, and enable efficient review of developers’ apps by App Review.”

The news comes one day after Apple said it would begin allowing users in the European Union (EU) to download apps directly from developers, its latest concession to EU regulators amid the imposition of new competition rules.

The company also said that marketplaces can now provide a catalog of apps solely from the developer of the marketplace. 

Apple’s feud with Epic has also played out in Europe, with the tech giant last week reversing its decision to block the video game company from its App Store and devices in Europe.

The move followed pressure from European regulators, who were unhappy with Apple’s move to block Epic from getting a developer account. Tim Sweeney, Epic’s CEO, said he saw the move as revenge for his company’s antitrust actions, lawsuit against Apple and criticisms of the larger company’s App Store policies.