Meta, Microsoft,

Meta platforms, Microsoft, Elon Musk

The technology companies, which develop some of the App Store's most popular apps, said Apple committed a “clear violation” of the court's Sept. 20, 2021, order by making it difficult to direct consumers to cheaper ways to shop for digital content to pay.

Apple declined to comment specifically on the claim, which is included in a lawsuit in federal court in Oakland, California.

The company noted in its January 16 statement that it had fully complied with the court order, which it said would protect consumers and “the integrity of Apple's ecosystem” while ensuring developers were not given a free pass.

Epic sued Apple in 2020, alleging that the company violated antitrust law by requiring consumers to purchase apps through the App Store and charging developers a commission of up to 30% on purchases.

The court order requires Apple to allow developers to provide links and buttons to direct consumers to alternative payment options.

Last week, Epic called in Apple, saying the new rules and a new 27% commission for developers would render links essentially useless.

In a filing on Wednesday, the tech companies say Apple's conduct “for all practical purposes” upholds anti-steering rules that the court found to be unlawful, perpetuates Apple's “excessive” commissions and harms consumers and developers.

“Apple’s restrictions on where and how developers can communicate with their users about their ability to purchase in-app content create significant barriers to competition and artificially inflate prices,” the petition said.

In January, the US Supreme Court decided not to hear Apple's appeal against the injunction. It also decided not to hear Epic's appeal of the lower court's findings that Apple's policy did not violate federal antitrust law.

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Apple has until April 3 to officially respond to Epic's request. The company is headquartered in Cupertino, California, while Epic is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina.

The case is Epic Games Inc v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-05640. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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