Epic CEO dismisses Apple’s latest App Store concession as ‘divide and conquer’ move

Report: Apple receives additional incentives for growth in western NC


CARY – Apple’s latest concession in how it manages App Store fees isn’t sitting well with the folks at Epic Games in Cary.

Apple will allow companies such as Spotify and Netflix to direct customers to their own websites to make payments, allowing them to more easily avoid fees levied by the App Store. But the change didn’t molify Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games which is involved in a global legal fight with Apple over its app store fee requirements.

The update will make it easier for some developers to bypass hefty charges imposed by Apple. The company’s commissions go as high as 30% on some purchases made through its platform. Developers have said they have little choice but to comply, since Apple does not allow customers to download apps from any source other than the company’s official store,  Jill Disis of CNN Business reports.

The issue is at the heart of an EU antitrust investigation and a lawsuit brought against Apple by Fortnite-maker Epic. A verdict in the Fortnite case is due any day now.

Sweeney tweeted late Wednesday that Apple’s “special deal” for some media apps amounted to the latest in a “day-by-day recalculation of divide and conquer in hopes of getting away with most of their tying practices.”

“Apple should open up iOS on the basis of hardware, stores, payments and services each competing individually and on their merits,” he wrote.

Epic CEO hails law banning Google, Apple from forcing use of in-app payment systems

“In Apple’s carefully-worded statement on safety, it’s hard to discern the rationale that this is safe while Fortnite accepting direct payments remains unsafe. Even more so if Apple deems Roblox, a game from 2006-2021 that became ‘an experience’ mid-trial, a reader app,” he added.

Apple’s announcement comes about a week after the company said it would relax some restrictions on how iPhone app makers could communicate with customers outside its App Store.

The iPhone maker’s latest concession in a long-standing fight with app developers was announced Wednesday in response to an investigation initiated by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission.

A worldwide change, Apple says

The update — which will take effect in early 2022, and applies worldwide — will allow developers of what Apple calls “reader” apps to insert a link out to external websites and let people set up or manage their accounts there.

Such apps provide previously purchased content or subscriptions for magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video, according to Apple. Amazon Video and Kindle are also frequently cited as examples of reader apps.

Spotify and Netflix once allowed users to pay for services in-app, but have since stopped that form of billing for new members amid a dispute with Apple over the hefty commission it charges. Downloading the Netflix app, for example, will allow you to sign in — but only if you have an existing account. The app otherwise tells you to “join and come back” once you already have an account.

Spotify did not immediately respond to a request from CNN Business for comment about the change. Netflix declined to comment.

“To ensure a safe and seamless user experience, the App Store’s guidelines require developers to sell digital services and subscriptions using Apple’s in-app payment system,” Apple said, adding that it is allowing for the change “because developers of reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase.”

Sweeney questioned that claim.

“This bit isn’t really true, now, is it?” he tweeted, referring to the “reader apps” part of the statement. “Amazon video offers digital goods for sale, like individual movies for purchase or rent, that can be experienced in-app.”

Epic’s Tim Sweeney warns: ‘Apple Tax is far more pernicious than many realize’

Apple’s announcement comes about a week after the company said it would relax some restrictions on how iPhone app makers could communicate with customers outside its App Store.

The company said last week that “developers can use communications, such as email, to share information about payment methods outside of their iOS app,” as long as users consent to receiving those emails and have the right to opt out.

The announcement also comes after South Korea passed a law that will allow developers to select which payment systems to use to process in-app purchases. That means they may be able to bypass hefty charges imposed by Apple and Google.

“Trust on the App Store is everything to us. The focus of the App Store is always to create a safe and secure experience for users, while helping them find and use great apps on the devices they love,” said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow who oversees the App Store, in a statement. “We have great respect for the Japan Fair Trade Commission and appreciate the work we’ve done together, which will help developers of reader apps make it easier for users to set up and manage their apps and services, while protecting their privacy and maintaining their trust.”

— Michelle Toh and Rishi Iyengar  of CNN contributed to this report. This report contains material from The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.





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Kassie Hoffman
Kassie pens down all the news from the world of politics on ANH.