Microsoft, Meta, and Spotify take Epic Games's side and join forces against Apple

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Key notes

  • Tech giants Meta, Microsoft, Spotify, and Match Group join Epic Games in suing Apple over App Store fees.
  • Lawsuit targets Apple’s restrictions on alternative payment options despite a court order mandating them.
  • Apple argues its fees and App Store curation justify the system, while the lawsuit claims it stifles competition.

In a move that further intensifies scrutiny on Apple’s App Store practices, several tech giants have come together to challenge the company’s payment policies. Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, Spotify, and Match Group have all filed legal petitions against Apple, joining Epic Games’ team in their ongoing lawsuit.

The issue is Apple’s commission fees, reaching up to 30% for in-app purchases. Developers argue that these fees are excessive, while Apple claims that they cover App Store maintenance and user security. The lawsuit specifically targets Apple’s response to a 2021 court ruling mandating the company allow alternative payment options.

Apple’s new plan allows developers to include a single link to an external payment system, but the lawsuit argues that it falls short of the court’s mandate. The restrictions on the information developers can provide about external links prevent users from learning about cheaper alternatives.

This lawsuit is not the first time Apple’s App Store practices have faced legal challenges. In 2019, Epic Games launched a lawsuit against Apple, arguing that the company’s control over app distribution and in-app purchases had an illegal monopoly. The case is still ongoing, but a judge in that case previously ruled that Apple could not prevent developers from including information about alternative payment methods within their apps.

Apple, for its part, maintains that its App Store fees are necessary to cover the costs of development, maintenance, and security measures that protect users from fraud and malware. The company also argues that its curated App Store experience provides a safe and convenient platform for both developers and consumers.

In the United States, the Department of Justice is reportedly nearing a decision on whether to file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. This latest legal challenge from a coalition of tech giants adds to the mounting pressure on Apple to potentially adjust its App Store policies moving forward.

More here.