American Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers issued a permanent injunction in the case of Epic Games v. Apple on September 10. Based on the ruling, Apple must allow other forms of in-app purchases:
“Apple Inc. [is]… permanently restricted and prohibited from prohibiting developers from including in their applications and their metadata buttons, external links or other calls to action that direct customers to the purchase mechanisms, in addition to in-application purchases and (ii) communicate with customers through contact points voluntarily obtained from customers through the account registration within the application “.
The injunction concludes a long and fierce legal battle between the companies. Epic argued that Apple’s App Store fees were a monopoly tax, while the iPhone maker said the fees were a necessary operating cost. However, González-Rogers explained in the complete rule that neither company was absolutely right.
“The relevant market here is mobile digital game transactions, not games in general and not Apple’s own internal operating systems related to the App Store,” González-Rogers wrote. Following that definition, “the court cannot, ultimately, conclude that Apple is a monopoly under federal or state antitrust laws. However, the test showed that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California competition laws. “
In other words, Apple’s effort to block alternative payment methods in apps was anti-competitive. Going forward, Apple will need to allow developers to offer other forms of in-app purchases if they choose.
Apple also had some victories in the ruling
Still, the ruling wasn’t all bad news for Apple. González-Rogers ruled in Apple’s favor regarding Epic Games’ breach of the App Store contract. She ordered the company to pay Apple 30 percent of $ 12.1 million for money earned between August and October 2020 plus 30 percent of the revenue earned from November 2020 to today. Additionally, González-Rogers ruled that Apple’s decision to terminate the Epic Games developer account was legal:
“(2) a statement that (i) Apple’s termination of the LAP and the related agreements between Epic Games and Apple were valid, legal, and enforceable, and (ii) Apple has a contractual right to terminate its LAP with anyone or all subsidiaries, affiliates, and / or other wholly owned entities of Epic Games under the control of Epic Games at any time and in Apple’s sole discretion. “
That also means that Apple is not obligated (at least legally) to reset the Epic Games account. If Apple decides not to allow Epic to return to the App Store, Fortnite it will not be available for Apple devices in the future.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said the ruling was not a victory for developers or consumers in Twitter. Sweeney went on to say that Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store “when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple’s in-app payment.”
Today’s decision is not a victory for developers or consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition between in-app payment methods and app stores for one billion consumers. https://t.co/cGTBxThnsP
– Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021
For Apple, it welcomed the ruling with the following statement:
Today, the Court has affirmed what we have known all along: the App Store does not violate antitrust law. As the Court recognized, “success is not illegal.” Apple faces stiff competition in every segment in which we operate, and we believe that customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. We remain committed to ensuring that the App Store is a safe and trustworthy marketplace that supports a thriving developer community and more than 2.1 million US jobs, and where the rules apply equally to everyone. “
It’s worth noting that the iPhone maker didn’t mention any of the concessions the ruling required it to grant and continued to promote the idea that App Store rules apply equally to all developers, despite evidence to the contrary. .
What’s next for Apple and Epic?
The edge notes that these new restrictions echo some interim restrictions against the address imposed on Apple outside the US For example, Apple recently allowed application developers to offer alternative payment methods by email, agreed to allow external registration links for ‘reader’ apps like Netflix and Spotify following a Japanese regulatory investigation. Also, a recent South Korean Law it also opened the door to alternative payment systems in the app store.
The ruling is likely to have significant impacts beyond Apple and its App Store. Epic sued Google for similar reasons, and the search giant is also fighting an antitrust lawsuit filed by several US state attorneys general.
However, it remains to be seen how much the ruling will affect developers and users of Apple’s platform. It also remains to be seen which appeals, if any, follow the ruling.
Source: The edge