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Microsoft and Meta File Brief Against Apple’s App Store Rules

Tech companies like Meta accuse Apple of not following a judge's order on App Store payments.


A coalition of technology companies, including Meta, , Match Group, and X, has formally accused of not adhering to a federal judge's order regarding its App Store policies. The accusation came to light in an amicus brief submitted on March 20, 2024, related to the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple. The companies argue that Apple's interpretation of the judge's 2021 directive, which aimed to allow developers to inform users about alternative payment options outside of the App Store, falls short of introducing genuine price competition and maintains Apple's grip on in-app payments.

The Core of the Dispute

At the heart of the dispute is Apple's fee structure, which charges app developers 15 to 30 percent for in-app purchases made through the App Store. The tech giants argue that Apple's proposed solution to comply with the court's order—a system that allows developers to link to external payment options—is overly complex and burdensome. They claim that this approach effectively discourages both developers and consumers from using alternative payment methods, thereby undermining the judge's intention to foster competition. The brief criticizes Apple's continued restrictions, suggesting they are designed to make alternatives to Apple's in-app purchases (IAP) system both impractical for developers and unappealing to consumers.

Implications for Developers and Consumers

The companies involved in filing the brief have outlined the negative impact of Apple's policies on their operations and their users. For instance, Meta highlighted a specific change in 2022 where Apple mandated the IAP fee for a feature allowing advertisers to boost posts within apps, thereby increasing costs unnecessarily. The brief suggests that Apple's external purchase fee, ranging from 12 to 27 percent, barely reduces costs for developers, making the establishment of an external payments system financially unviable.

Apple's Response and Upcoming Hearing

In response to the allegations, Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz referred to the company's statement of , asserting that Apple has fully adhered to the injunction. Apple defends its external payment link requirements as necessary measures to protect , security, and the integrity of its ecosystem. The company is expected to file a formal response before a hearing scheduled for April 30, 2024, to discuss the enforcement of the injunction.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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