Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers issued a permanent injunction against Apple in the ongoing Epic vs. Apple lawsuit. The conclusion of this long-drawn legal proceeding has dealt a major blow to Apple’s App Store model.
According to the issued injunction, Apple is “permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing (IAPs) and communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.”
To simplify the legalese, Apple must no longer force iOS developers to use its own payment system for IAPs. Instead, developers are free to direct users to any payment system of their choice. This injunction will take effect in 90 days, on December 9, unless a higher court instructs otherwise.
Simultaneously, the court agreed that Epic Games violated the terms of its contract with Apple by implementing an alternate payment system in the Fortnite app. To make amends, the court has directed Epic to pay Apple 30 percent of all revenue collected since the alternate payment system was implemented. This amounts to a little over $3.5 million.
In the ruling, Judge Gonzalez-Rogers rejected both parties’ definition of the marketplace (App Store or general gaming) at issue in the dispute. “The relevant market here is digital mobile gaming transactions, not gaming generally and not Apple’s own internal operating systems related to the App Store,” the judge remarked.
In a victory for Apple, the judge ruled that “the court cannot conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws.” Nonetheless, the trial showed that Apple is “engaging in anticompetitive conduct under California’s competition laws,” the judge continued. When reached for comment, Apple said that the ruling is a victory for the App Store model. The company representative said that today, the court affirmed what Apple had known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law. The representative emphasized that Apple believes customers and developers choose it because “its products and services are the best in the world.” The representative reiterated that Apple remains committed to “ensuring the App Store is a safe and trusted marketplace.”
Epic did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney’s tweet says it all:
[Via The Verge]
Today’s ruling isn't a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers. https://t.co/cGTBxThnsP
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021