Apple gets a reprieve, meaning app store rules stay the same for now

Apple had requested a stay putting on hold a decision rendered in September by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers who presided over the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple. The judge ruled that even though Apple was not a monopoly and there was nothing illegal about doing it, Apple should allow app developers to post a link or communicate to their customers how they could. be sent to a third-party payment system integrated into the application. to avoid that of Apple.
Judge Gonzalez Rodriguez rejected Apple’s first suspension request in November, saying it took into consideration that Apple could block implementation of its decision for years to come. Apple appealed the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals, which today ruled in Apple’s favor. According to The Wall Street Journal’s appeals court granted Apple’s request to delay implementation of new rules that would have allowed app developers to direct their customers to third-party in-app payment platforms (in bypassing Apple’s in-app payment platform).

Without the stay, Apple would have been forced to follow Judge Gonzalez Rodriguez’s decision on December 9

Apple’s in-app payments system collects up to 30% of in-app revenue, which lets developers collect less money than they should, and customers pay more for in-app purchases. -app. In a last ditch effort to maintain the status quo for a while, Apple filed an appeal and requested a stay of the injunction that would have taken effect tomorrow, December 9. In this last-minute case filed by Apple late last month, the company said allowing immediate implementation of Judge Gonzalez Rodriguez’s order would hurt “millions of participants on both sides of the platform. App Store form.

In its Wednesday ruling, the appeals court said: “Apple has shown, at a minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions about the merits of the district court ruling that Epic Games, Inc. did not show that Apple’s conduct violated antitrust laws, but showed that the same behavior violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. ”

The lawsuit was filed by Epic in August 2020 after Apple kicked Epic’s popular Fortnite game from the App Store after the game developer informed Fortnite players that they could purchase in-app accessories for the game. game, such as V-Bucks, from those of Epic. in-app payment platform and save money. For example, instead of paying $ 9.99 for 1,000 V-Bucks through the App Store, gamers could make the same purchase directly from Epic for $ 7.99.

In the US, Apple may continue to block app developers from signing in to third-party payment platforms

Apple responded to today’s decision by making a statement. “We are constantly evolving the App Store to help create an even better experience for our users and the incredibly talented iOS developer community,” said Apple. “Our concern is that these changes would have created new privacy and security risks, and disrupted the user experience that customers enjoy on the App Store. We would like to thank the court for granting this suspension while the appeal process continues. “

Apple believed it won the case in September when the judge denied a request by Epic to order Apple to allow downloading from Epic’s App Store to the iPhone. When the first decision was made, Denver antitrust attorney Paul Swanson said, “Big Tech was monitoring this case because it was looking at whether the antitrust law would allow walled gardens to be successful. Although we had had a bit of a mixed response, I think the main takeaway is that “success is not illegal” and a walled garden like Apple’s which competes with other digital mobile game transaction facilitators , is not illegal. ”

In the United States at least, Apple can continue to collect its 15-30% commission on in-app purchases, and apps that oppose it, such as Spotify, Epic, and Netflix can continue to prevent consumers from paying for subscriptions directly. from the App Store. This does not include the new Netflix Games app which will allow subscribers to register through the App Store.

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