Apple loosens control over iPhone apps

Henry

After a years-long lawsuit, Apple has now said it will begin to loosen controls on iPhone and iPad apps and allow app developers to use other payment systems. However, charges and various provisions will still apply.

The California-based company outlined its plans in court documents this week in the case between Apple and Epic Games, the developer of the wildly popular game Fortnite.

Apple’s announcement comes shortly after America’s highest court rejected an appeal by Apple and Epic Games against an earlier decision of a lower court (in favor of Apple).

Epic Games filed the suit in 2020 with the goal of breaking Apple’s grip on the App Store. The company accuses Apple of operating a monopoly in its digital services store.

Apple takes about 30% on all financial transactions in its app store, which has resulted in complaints about an unfair “tax” for companies.

A federal court in San Francisco rejected the application (by Epic Games), but did make a concession that apps may indicate other payment options that fall outside Apple’s “ecosystem”.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court dismissed appeals from Apple and Epic Games in this regard and put an end to the legal saga.

Apple has now submitted plans to comply with the lower court’s ruling that allows developers to use their own payment systems when users download their applications on an iPhone or iPad.

Apple’s plan includes, among other things, the development of buttons and links in applications that will lead users to alternative payment systems such as websites. However, Apple will still take 27% on these transactions.

Epic Games lashed out on the social media platform X against Apple’s plans and said that they are not complying with the court decision in “good faith”.

Tim Sweeney, Epic Games’ CEO, believes that these plans are a death blow for competitive prices.

Apple also has several rules for developers who want to use their own payment systems.

Now patent litigation looms

Although this legal battle has now reached its end, Apple is also embroiled in a battle over patent law. That lawsuit relates to his Apple watches.

On Wednesday, a federal court ruled that Apple could limit sales of its latest Apple smartwatches (smart watches) in the US is on strike pending a dispute over patent rights with the health company Masimo.

The order takes effect on Thursday.

Masimo, which is located in southern California, filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding a dispute regarding the patent rights of technology that monitors blood oxygen levels.

In October, following the complaint, the ITC banned the import of Apple’s latest smart watches (which offer this function).

A court temporarily lifted the ban last month, but it has now been put back into effect.

Apple manufactures most of the products overseas – mainly in China – which gives the ITC jurisdiction over the patent dispute.

According to reports, Apple plans to temporarily remove the technology from its smartwatches (Series 9 and Ultra 2).

Masimo welcomed this solution.

The health company claims it invented the technology and that Apple recruited key employees to gain knowledge about the development of the technology.

Apple rejects the finding of the ITC and believes it should be withdrawn – an appeal that the company submitted to a federal court.

A decision in this regard may take a year or longer.

However, Masimo is delighted with the ban and considered it a victory for the US patent system.

Joe Kiani, Masimo’s CEO, says this sends a strong message that even powerful companies like Apple must respect intellectual property rights.