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Apple will not ‘make an exception’ for Fortnite in payments row

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Apple has said it “won’t make an exception” for Fortnite as the payments dispute between it and developer Epic Games continues.

The iPhone maker has threatened to revoke Epic’s membership to the Apple Developer Programme over a direct payment option added to Fortnite last week.

The rules on both Apple and Google’s app stores state that purchases made for digital items within an app must be done through Apple or Google’s respective payment system, from which the companies then take a cut of up to 30 per cent.

But Fortnite was removed from both stores after adding an option to Fortnite which allowed users to pay Epic directly for in-app purchases.

Apple said the issue was a “problem Epic has created for itself”.

On Monday, Epic said Apple was now threatening to remove the company from its developer programme in the coming weeks, which would affect the firm’s ability to make software for Apple’s iOS and Mac platforms.

In a statement, Apple said it wanted to keep Epic Games in the Developer Programme and that the problem could be resolved if Fortnite was updated, in line with Apple’s rules.

“The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers,” Apple said.

“Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion-dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world.

“We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Programme and their apps on the Store.

“The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers.

“We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.”

Epic said Apple had given the firm until August 28 to make the changes.

The Fortnite maker revealed on Monday it had also filed a court injunction in the US against Apple, in an effort to prevent Apple from cutting it off.

The debate over payment systems has been ongoing for some time, and app developers have long questioned the fairness of the related fees, Tim Sweeney, the boss of Epic Games, has previously argued that the 30 per cent cut is “disproportionate”, while other apps such as Spotify have also argued they are unfair and can stifle competition.

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