A federal judge ruled today that Apple must open up payment options for any software sellers on its App Store. With this ruling, Apple will no longer be able to prevent app developers from including their own payment options within their services.
Sumit Sharma, senior researcher for tech competition at Consumer Reports said, “The decision by the federal court is a small, but important victory for consumers and the app store marketplace. App developers are now able to inform consumers at the point of purchase that they can get the same service at a lower price outside the app store. The fact that this was not already an option will come as a shock to many consumers who likely were not aware that they were overpaying by purchasing services via the app store. That’s what Apple’s anti-circumvention provisions do – they keep consumers in the dark.
Sharma added, “The court decision also highlights the limitations of individual cases and the uncertainties of applying narrow market definition tools to complex digital markets. These rulings can only lead to piecemeal solutions. The business practices Apple has used to reduce competition in the app space, such as self-preferencing in search and interoperability, and using their marketplace role to gain an unfair competitive advantage, can continue unhindered despite today’s ruling. Congress and federal regulators should take action to help balance the playing field and create a marketplace that is more fair and competitive for all.”
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