Last week, in the Epic vs. Apple case, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided that Apple can no longer ban developers from using “buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing methods,” but she didn’t say Apple needs to lower its commission or that it could no longer charge its fee.
Now, according to Bloomberg, Apple could still tell developers that it intends to collect a commission of up to 30%, despite last week’s court ruling.
“Apple has the legal right to do business with anyone they want,” said Paul Gallant, managing director at Cowen & Co. “So Apple could change the terms of the App Store and say to developers, regardless of where you collect your revenue, you owe us 30%, and if developers refuse to pay it, Apple would be free to de-platform them.”
The judge’s 185-page decision following a May trial in a lawsuit by Epic was considered a “huge win” by Apple, and although the company must relax rules around In-App Purchase and allow apps to link out to third-party payment systems, the judge ruled in Apple’s favor on all other counts.
Now, it’s up to the company to decide how bad it wants the 30% commission fee. In the report, Bloomberg reiterates what Apple CEO Tim Cook said a few months ago about what would happen if the judge decided that developers could avoid Apple’s own payment system.
“We would have to come up with another system to invoice developers, which I think would be a mess,” he said. Asked by the judge directly if developers would still need to pay Apple if they collected payments from consumers outside of the iPhone maker’s in-app-purchase system, Cook said: “Yes, of course.”
Yesterday Epic confirmed it paid Apple a 30% commission of all sales the company registered by bypassing the App Store’s in-app purchases system with Fortnite last year. It was about $6 million.
The payment was confirmed by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney himself on Twitter, who also shared a joke about paying the fine using Apple Pay.
Now, we wait to see how Apple is going to handle this situation. As we’re a few hours from the “California Streaming” event, the company could also possibly address the judge’s decision.
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