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Apple admits its anti-trust makeover didn’t work

by on24 May 2024

Claims developers will not support it

Grand pooh-bah of the iPhone app store Phil Schiller has finally admitted that Jobs’ Mob’s so-called payment system makeover is about as effective as a chocolate teapot.

He told a court that it's done zilch to stir up any real competition, and now a federal judge might just roll up her sleeves and demand they do something meaningful.

The court-mandated spruce up of its exclusive payment system was seen as a slap on Apple’s wrist to let developers show off alternative payment links. But Schiller said despite Apple’s efforts, no one was interested and everyone really wanted to pay Apple more.

The court is trying to determine if Apple is playing by the rules or is still running its app store like it's their private fiefdom.

The judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, wasn't buying the monopoly story from Epic Games. Still, she did tell Apple to stop hogging all the fun and let developers link to other payment options. Because, you know, choice is good.

Apple's payment system is a cash cow, milking billions from commissions as high as 30 per cent. So, they dragged their feet for over two years before finally, begrudgingly, letting alternative payment links into the party in January. And to make sure they still got their cut, they slapped on fees of 12 -27 per cent when users click on those alternatives.

Epic Games, the folks behind Fortnite, called them out, saying Apple's fees on external links are so high, you might as well just keep paying through Apple and save yourself the headache.

The judge is now scratching her head, wondering if she should give Apple a timeout for not playing nice. She's considering forcing them to offer more payment options to spark some competition and, maybe, lower prices for everyone.

In the hearings, the judge has been giving Apple execs the stink eye, hinting that she thinks they're more interested in lining their pockets than following her orders.

Even when Schiller was on the stand, doing his best to defend Apple's "good intentions," he couldn't quite explain why they're getting about as many applications for external payment links as there are sunny days in Ireland.

Of roughly 136,000 apps that have done digital transactions in the US, 38 have asked to use external payment links, and only 17 are using them.

Schiller says he's got an "action item" to get more apps to jump on the external payment bandwagon. The show's set to go on 31 May, when Schiller will be back in the hot seat, probably with more dog ate-my-homework excuses.

Last modified on 24 May 2024
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