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Apple wins court battle to retain 30% App Store tax that deters NFTs

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U.S. tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will continue to charge its much-contested 30% App Store tax as its legal battle continues before the U.S. Supreme Court, a judge has stated in a ruling that deals a blow to the non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem.

The iPhone maker has been locked in a court battle with Epic Games, the studio behind Fortnite, over its anti-trust practices with its App Store. Epic lost most of its claims against Apple but won a ruling allowing app developers to redirect users to other payment systems beyond the walled garden iOS ecosystem.

Apple bars apps on its App Store from circumventing its 30% cut on in-app purchases and removed Fortnite for violating the rule.

Justice Elena Kagan has ruled against Epic’s push to allow developers to sidestep the App Store payment rules, at least for the time being. She declined to provide any reasons for her ruling, Bloomberg reports.

The ruling gives a reprieve to Apple as it prepares to file its appeal at the Supreme Court before the end of the year. However, should the court refuse to hear the case, the earlier ruling against the world’s most valuable company will take effect.

In its filing, Epic criticized the ruling allowing Apple to uphold its rules until the Supreme Court appeal. It claimed that this would “injure not only Epic but innumerable consumers and other app developers for a significant period of time.”

In its defense, Apple dismissed the claims, pointing out that its rules don’t harm Epic as its games have been kicked out of the App Store.

The App Store is a critical revenue stream for Apple, and a ruling against it at the Supreme Court could be a significant setback. It’s estimated that the company generated over $1.1 trillion in commerce last year from the App Store.

The ruling deals a blow to the NFT ecosystem. The 30% cut has kept NFT marketplaces at bay, with Magic Eden, Rarible, and other major players all claiming it’s impractical for the sector. A proposal by Apple to include them in the Small Business Program—which slashes the cut to 15%—has done little to attract them.

It could soon change for NFTs, however. Earlier this month, U.S. lawmakers launched a probe into Apple’s policies toward NFTs and other Web3 applications. They allege that the company’s policies “purposefully limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of user experience.”

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