Epic Games v. Apple: Apple Can No Longer Force Developers to Use In-App Purchasing, Judge Rules

Image: Apple

The exhausting battle between Epic Games and Apple has finally reached a partial conclusion. Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in Epic Games’ favor today, issuing an injunction that prevents Apple from prohibiting developers from providing links or other communications that direct users away from Apple in-app purchasing. This is bad news for Apple, as the company makes significant money off of App Store sales, taking as much as a 15 to 30 percent cut of gross sales.

The ruling is as follows:

Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) 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 and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.

“The Court concludes that Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice,” Rogers wrote. “When coupled with Apple’s incipient antitrust violations, these anti-steering provisions are anticompetitive and a nationwide remedy to eliminate those provisions is warranted.”

Apple will have to change its App Store policies as a result of Rogers’ ruling, but the judge did rule in favor of Apple in its claim that Epic breached its App Store contract when it added a direct payment option to Fortnite for iOS. The court also found that Epic failed to provide enough evidence to support its claim of Apple being a monopolist.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has criticized the ruling on Apple’s App Store not being in violation of antitrust law on Twitter. The company is planning to appeal the decision.

“Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers,” Sweeney tweeted. “Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”

Source: Court Listener (via CNBC, 9to5Mac)

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