Apple updates its App Store policies for external payment links

Apple has recently made updates to its App Store policies, specifically addressing how developers can link to external payment platforms. This move comes after the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Apple and Epic’s appeals over the Epic Games v. Apple ruling. These updates have sparked criticism from Epic’s founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, who calls the fees charged by Apple “anticompetitive” and raises concerns about how the links appear and function.

Apple’s new App Store policies now outline the process for developers to link to alternative payment methods. In order to do so, developers are required to apply for an “entitlement.” However, it is important to note that if developers choose to use an external payment platform, they will still owe Apple a percentage of the transaction. The cut taken by Apple will be 27 percent, which is slightly less than the typical 30 percent. Alternatively, developers who are part of the App Store Small Business Program will only owe Apple a 12 percent cut.

While developers have the option to link to external payment platforms, they are also required to offer Apple’s in-app purchase system within their apps. This ensures that Apple’s walled garden remains intact and that users have the choice to make payments through Apple’s system as well. This dual-payment requirement has raised concerns among developers about the additional burden and potential confusion for users.

Tim Sweeney’s criticism

Tim Sweeney, the founder and CEO of Epic Games, has expressed his dissatisfaction with Apple’s updated policies. He specifically criticizes the 27 percent fee charged by Apple, referring to it as “anticompetitive.” Sweeney also raises concerns about the appearance and functionality of the links to external sites, highlighting what he calls a “scare screen” that users will encounter when leaving an app. He further states that Epic will contest Apple’s compliance plan in District Court, although the exact implications of this action remain unclear.

Apple’s recent updates to its App Store policies regarding external payment links have sparked both praise and criticism. While developers now have clearer guidelines for linking to alternative payment platforms, they are still required to offer Apple’s in-app purchase system. This dual-payment requirement may result in additional challenges for developers and potential confusion for users. Furthermore, Tim Sweeney’s criticism of Apple’s fees and the appearance of external links highlights the ongoing tension between Apple and developers like Epic Games. It remains to be seen how these policies will ultimately impact the App Store ecosystem and the relationship between Apple and its developer community.


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