Apple Inc. has been ordered to make the most significant change to its App Store business model since launching the platform in 2008, and it could cost the tech giant a few billion dollars annually.
In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said the company must give developers the option of bypassing its commission on in-app purchases -- a cut that runs as high as 30%. That includes letting iOS apps use “buttons, external links or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing methods” other than Apple’s payment system.
It’s a blow to Apple, but one that the world’s most valuable company can likely absorb. And Apple dodged an even bigger risk -- that the judge might determine that it was a monopolist under either federal or state laws. That may have helped some investors decide stride, though they still sent the shares down 3.3% to $148.97 Friday, marking their worst one-day decline since May.
Apple’s commissions from the App Store generated an estimated $6.3 billion last year in the U.S., most of it coming from in-app purchases and subscriptions. That money is what’s at stake as games and other apps prepare to steer consumers away from Apple’s payment system.
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