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U.S. judge orders Apple to ease App Store rules


U.S. judge orders Apple to ease App Store rules
3D printed Lady Justice figure is seen in front of displayed Apple and Epic Games logos in this illustration photo - Reuters

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OAKLAND, Calif. – A United States federal judge struck down some of the rules of Apple’s lucrative App Store on Friday, forcing the company to allow developers to send their users to other payment systems in a partial win for “Fortnite” creator Epic Games and other app makers.

But the judge did not require Apple to let app makers use their own in-app payment systems, one of Epic’s top requests, and allowed Apple to continue to charge commissions of 15 to 30 per cent for its own in-app payment system.

Epic said it would appeal the ruling, with chief executive officer Tim Sweeney tweeting that the ruling “isn’t a win for developers or for consumers”.

The outcome left Apple’s critics and rivals saying they are more likely to turn to legislators, rather than courts, to pursue the changes they seek.

U.S. district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers described her ruling as requiring a “measured” change to Apple’s rules.

The ruling vastly expands a concession made to streaming video companies last week allowing them to direct users to outside payment methods.

The decision expanded that exemption to all developers, including the game developers who are the biggest cash generators for Apple’s App Store, which itself is the foundation of its U.S. $53.8 billion services segment.

The judge ruled that Apple can no longer bar developers from providing buttons or links in their apps that direct customers to other ways to pay outside of Apple’s own in-app purchase system.

The ruling also said Apple cannot ban developers from communicating with customers via contact information obtained by the developers when customers signed up within the app.