Apple vs. Epic lawsuit comes to a close, changes coming to Apple's payment features

Ruling will impact both companies in the months to come

On September 10, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers issued a permanent injunction in the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit, which originally began just over a year ago. 

According to the judgement, 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 and communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app."

In short, this means that any apps available on iOS that feature in-app purchases must be allowed to direct users to payment options offered by their creators, rather than just those Apple provides. Unless overruled by a higher court, the injunction will take effect in 30 days, on December 9. 

While this may seem like a victory for Epic, that's not exactly the case. In a separate judgement, the court agreed that Epic breached its contract with Apple when it implemented its alternate payment methods in the Fortnite iOS app. Because of this, Epic has to pay Apple thirty percent of all the revenue collected through the alternate payment system since it was implemented. This comes out to over $3.5 million. 

In the full ruling, Judge Gonzales Rogers said: "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." 

With this definition of the market, "the court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws. Nonetheless, the trial did show that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California’s competition laws."

The Verge reached out to Apple for comment after the ruling. "Today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law,” a representative said. “Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. We remain committed to ensuring the App Store is a safe and trusted marketplace.”

Meanwhile, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney expressed his disappointment on Twitter. "Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers,” he said. “Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.” A separate Epic spokesperson told NPR that the company plans to appeal the ruling.

Contributor

Ty is a freelance writer who bounces around the web. They love indie games, Bayonetta, and monstrous women and can be found covering all of the above. They're also the EIC and resident thembo of Uppercut.

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