What Are The Epic Games Apple Unjustified Fees


The feud between Epic Games and Apple has been raging for years, with both tech giants embroiled in a bitter legal battle over app store policies and fees. At the heart of this conflict lies a fundamental disagreement over the fairness of Apple’s commission rates for in-app purchases and the company’s alleged efforts to stifle competition.

In the latest chapter of this saga, Epic Games has accused Apple of charging “unjustified fees” for a purchase link that allows developers to offer in-app links to direct customers to third-party purchase options on the web. Despite a court injunction requiring Apple to allow such links, Epic Games claims that the fees imposed by Apple make these links “commercially unusable,” thereby subverting the injunction’s intent.

Recent Released:Elevate Your iOS Game with Balatro

Apple’s “Anti-Steering” Rules and Fees

According to Epic Games, Apple’s behavior violates the injunction in three distinct ways:

  1. Imposing New Fees: Apple is still charging commission for purchases made through these external links, ranging from 12 to 27 percent (only 3 percent lower than the standard 15/30 percent fee).
  2. Enacting New Rules: Apple has implemented a slew of new rules that, when combined, make the external purchase links commercially unfeasible.
  3. Prohibiting Steering: Apple categorically prohibits any “steering” using “buttons” or “other calls to action” that would direct users to alternative purchasing methods within the app.

These allegations strike at the core of Apple’s “anti-steering” policies, which have long been criticized for stifling competition and forcing developers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system, thereby subjecting them to the company’s hefty commission rates.

What are the Impact on Developers

For developers, the implications of Apple’s alleged actions are significant. By rendering external purchase links “commercially unusable,” Apple is effectively forcing developers to either accept the company’s standard commission rates or risk losing out on a substantial portion of their revenue.

This issue is particularly pressing for larger developers and publishers, who often rely on in-app purchases as a primary source of revenue. For these companies, even a few percentage points in commission fees can translate into millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Moreover, the inability to effectively “steer” users towards alternative purchasing methods within the app means that developers have limited options for offering discounts, bundles, or other promotions that could potentially increase their sales and customer engagement.

What is Epic Games’ Arguments

Epic Games, which has been a vocal critic of Apple’s app store policies, argues that the fees and restrictions imposed by Apple are unjustified and anti-competitive. The company contends that by making external purchase links unusable, Apple is effectively nullifying the court’s injunction and maintaining its monopolistic control over in-app purchases.

Furthermore, Epic Games asserts that Apple’s categorical prohibition of “buttons” or “other calls to action” that would direct users to alternative purchasing methods is an overreach that goes beyond the bounds of the injunction.

Apple’s Perspective

On the other hand, Apple has defended its policies as necessary to maintain the integrity and security of its app ecosystem. The company argues that its commission rates are reasonable and in line with industry standards, and that they help fund the ongoing development and maintenance of the App Store infrastructure.

Apple has also consistently maintained that its “anti-steering” rules are designed to provide a consistent and secure user experience, ensuring that all in-app purchases are subject to the same safeguards and protections.

The Legal Battle

The dispute between Epic Games and Apple has already played out in court, with a judge ruling in 2021 that Apple’s “anti-steering” rules were indeed anti-competitive. However, the judge stopped short of forcing Apple to allow alternative in-app purchase systems, instead issuing the injunction that required Apple to permit external purchase links.

Both sides have appealed various aspects of the ruling, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle that could have far-reaching implications for the entire app ecosystem.

The Broader Implications

Beyond the immediate financial and legal implications, the dispute between Epic Games and Apple raises broader questions about the power and influence of tech giants in the digital economy.

Critics argue that companies like Apple, with their dominant market positions and control over crucial digital platforms, wield disproportionate power over developers and consumers alike. By wielding this power to extract excessive fees and stifle competition, these critics contend, tech giants are stifling innovation and harming consumers in the long run.

Proponents of greater regulation and antitrust enforcement argue that cases like the Epic Games vs. Apple feud highlight the need for greater oversight and more stringent rules to ensure a level playing field and promote competition in the tech industry.


The ongoing battle between Epic Games and Apple over “unjustified fees” and anti-competitive practices is a complex and multifaceted issue that touches on legal, financial, and philosophical questions about the role of tech giants in the modern economy.

As the legal proceedings continue to unfold, the outcome of this clash could have far-reaching implications for developers, consumers, and the entire app ecosystem. Regardless of the eventual outcome, the dispute has shone a spotlight on the power dynamics at play in the tech industry and the need for a balanced approach that fosters innovation while protecting consumer interests and promoting fair competition.

Useful Table

Here is a useful table summarizing the key points of contention between Epic Games and Apple:

IssueEpic Games’ PositionApple’s Position
Fees for External Purchase LinksFees of 12-27% are unjustified and make the links “commercially unusable”Commission rates are reasonable and in line with industry standards
Anti-Steering RulesProhibiting “buttons” or “calls to action” is an overreach beyond the injunctionAnti-steering rules are necessary for a consistent and secure user experience
Impact on CompetitionApple’s policies stifle competition and maintain a monopolistic control over in-app purchasesPolicies are designed to maintain the integrity and security of the App Store ecosystem
Legal BasisApple is violating the spirit and intent of the court’s injunctionComplying with the letter of the injunction by allowing external purchase links

This table provides a clear overview of the key points of contention, highlighting the opposing views and arguments put forth by Epic Games and Apple regarding fees, anti-steering rules, impact on competition, and the legal basis for their respective positions.

Leave a Comment