US judge orders Apple to ease App Store rules

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Washington

A US federal judge struck down some of Apple Inc’s App Store rules on Friday, forcing the company to allow developers to send their users to other payment systems in a partial win for “Fortnite” creator Epic Games and other app makers.

But the judge did not require Apple to let app makers use their own in-app payment systems, one of Epic’s top requests, and allowed Apple to continue to charge commissions of 15% to 30% for its own in-app payment system.

Epic said it would appeal the ruling, with CEO Tim Sweeney tweeting that the ruling “isn’t a win for developers or for consumers.”

The outcome left Apple’s critics and rivals saying they are more likely to turn to legislators, rather than courts, to pursue the changes they seek.

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers described her ruling as requiring a “measured” change to Apple’s rules.

Analysts said the impact may depend heavily on how the iPhone maker chooses to implement the decision.

Apple shares were down 3.2% late on Friday afternoon, but many Wall Street analysts maintained their long-term favorable outlooks on the iPhone maker.

“We suspect the eventual impact from this will be manageable,” Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a note to investors.

The ruling vastly expands a concession made to streaming video companies last week allowing them to direct users to outside payment methods.

The decision expands that exemption to all developers, including the game developers who are the biggest cash generators for Apple’s App Store, which itself is the foundation of its $53.8 billion services segment.—Agencies

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