Apple fights back and denies violating US court order on alternative payments

Tech giant claims new rules were implemented "in good faith"

Apple fights back and denies violating US court order on alternative payments

Apple has denied it is failing to comply with a US court order ruling it must enable third-party web payment links in apps following a complaint from Epic Games.

Epic had asked the judge to hold Apple in contempt of court last month. But in a filing asking the judge to throw out the case, Apple said it had already amended its guidelines to allow developers to communicate with consumers over alternative purchase options both within and outside their apps.

“In short, Apple’s development and implementation of its framework for compliance with the injunction was undertaken in good faith,” read a statement.

The legal battle continues

The Apple vs. Epic case, which first reached the courts in 2021, saw the Fortnite maker challenge Apple’s platform policies. It claimed the firm was operating a monoply and had demonstrated anti-competitive behaviour by not allowing companies to do business directly with their consumers.

Epic ultimately lost on almost all counts, though the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did rule that Apple should allow publishers in the US to link to external payment methods on the web.

The Supreme Court declined to hear a fresh challenge, effectively ratifying the previous decision. In response, Apple said it would allow payment links within apps, but that it would charge a 27% fee on those payments.

An injunction against Apple specifically stated in cannot prevent developers from including in-app links, buttons or calls to action that direct users to alternative purchase methods, nor can it stop publishers from communicating with users outside of the store about those options, using contacts collected through app account registration.

Last month Epic requested a judge hold Apple in contempt by claiming Apple had not complied with the court order.

According to Bloomberg, Epic claimed Apple’s new scheme “pervasively taxes, regulates, restricts and burdens in-app links directing users to alternative purchasing mechanisms on a developer’s website”.

The court filing added: “Apple’s goal is clear: to prevent purchasing alternatives from constraining the supracompetitive fees it collects on purchases of digital goods and services.”

"Good faith"

Apple’s own filing claimed that the injunction “expressly recognised” that Apple may charge a commission and “take steps to protect users”.

“The purpose of the injunction is to make information regarding alternative purchase options more readily available, not to dictate the commercial terms on which Apple provides access to its platform, tools and technologies, and userbase,” said Apple in its court filing.

“Apple’s framework for injunction compliance was implemented in good faith, after extensive study, for the benefit of all platform participants.”

It claimed that Epic was “not seeking to enforce” the injunction, but rather it was asking the court to “micromanage Apple’s business operations in a way that would increase Epic’s profitability”.

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Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.