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Apple delays easing US App Store rules

According to a California district judge’s decision, app developers in the United States must have the right to use links or buttons to indicate payment options outside of the Apple platform for their apps. The ruling came at the beginning of September in a process between Apple and Epic Games, the company that created the online game “Fortnite”. Apple argued that the change could harm consumers and the integrity of the App Store platform.

The Court of Appeals was alarmed by a district judge’s decision that Apple’s business practices did not violate antitrust law, but rather California’s law against unfair competition. Apple welcomed the delay. “We fear that the changes will lead to new risks related to data protection and security,” a spokesperson said.

In the process, Epic wanted to get the right to run its own App Store on the iPhone – and it failed. But District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, meanwhile, decided that Apple could no longer prevent developers from instructing users on ways to buy items more cheaply outside the App Store.

Apple warned that some developers, from the company’s point of view, interpreted the judge’s decision too generously and wanted full alternative payments packages behind the links. As the company argues, this could allow malicious developers to misuse user data, while Apple can’t prevent this.

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Apple primarily allows the purchase of digital goods – such as virtual items in game apps – via its internal payment platform. A fee of 15 or 30 percent is due to the group. Apple argues, among other things, that the process will protect users from fraud attempts and misuse of their data. The group specifically notes that Apple’s platform, as an intermediary step, will prevent fraudsters from gaining direct access to credit card data from users. Some app developers criticize that the tax is unjustifiably high.

Morgan Stanley analysts noted that the appeals court’s decision will be positive for Apple App Store revenue.

The App Store system from developers Apple and Android Google has recently attracted increased attention from competition keepers and politicians. In some countries – including the European Union – there are plans to make the iPhone platform more accessible to other app stores. Apple warns of the dangers that users may be exposed to through this step.