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Tech Giants Challenge Apple’s App Store Plans

In a joint legal filing, Meta PlatformsMicrosoftX and Match Group have called on a federal judge to reject Apple’s plan for allowing outside payment options in its App Store.

The companies argue that the proposal contradicts a 2021 ruling that found Apple in violation of California’s unfair competition laws, requiring Apple to allow app developers to direct users to their own payment systems, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (March 20).

The filing echoes the ongoing antitrust battle between Epic Games and Apple, with the companies arguing that Apple’s plan imposes new restrictions on app developers, thereby stifling the price competition that the injunction sought to promote, according to the report.

Apple’s control over its app marketplace has been under scrutiny, per the report. A 2023 appeals court decision upheld a 2021 ruling that Apple’s business model violated California law by limiting developers’ communication about alternative payment systems, potentially leading to higher costs for users. Apple receives a percentage of every purchase made on its app store, a point of contention for developers.

Epic Games and Apple both sought Supreme Court review of the lower-court rulings, but the request was declined in January, according to the report. Apple subsequently announced it would allow third-party apps sold in the United States to include an external link to a developer website for processing in-app purchases. However, Epic Games recently accused Apple of making these outside links “commercially unusable” by imposing new fees and requested that Apple be held in contempt of court.

Apple’s plan, detailed in a nine-page, 2,900-word document, includes numerous requirements and limitations that developers must adhere to in order to include an external purchase link within their apps, the report said. Despite allowing app makers to include outside links to alternative payment systems, Apple still aims to collect a revenue share of 12% or 27% from developers who opt out of its system.

The case between Epic Games and Apple continues in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland), per the report.