Apple must allow apps to link to external payment options, rules judge

A decision has been reached in the seemingly endless Apple v Epic case, with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issuing a ruling with potentially enormous ramifications for App developers.

Gonzalez Rogers sided with just one of Epic’s 10 counts against Apple, but also sided with one of Apple’s counterclaims against Epic.

The case centred around Epic’s claim that Apple’s 30% cut of all transactions is too high, and their attempt to provide third party payment options in Fortnite – leading to the game’s removal from the App Store. Epic claimed that Apple’s rules against developers providing external, third-party payment options (thus depriving Apple of their 30%) was anti-competitive and monopolistic.

In the ruling, the judge granted one major victory to Epic Games – ordering Apple’s policy of preventing external payment options to be reversed within 90 days.

Epic Games is hardly leaving the battle unbruised, though. The judged ruled that Apple’s business model isn’t broadly monopolistic, stating that “the court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws.”

“While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct. Success is not illegal.”

Additionally, Epic must now pay Apple around $3 million of Fortnite earnings on iOS between August and October 2020, and an additional 30% on any earnings from November 1st through to the date of the judgement, as a result of the judge ruling that Epic has breached its contract with Apple.

Hardly big money for Epic Games, though CEO Tim Sweeney has never been fond of that 30% cut...

Epic Games has filed a notice of appeal to the US Court of Appeals, with Sweeney taking to Twitter to demonstrate that the fight is far from over.

Epic plans to appeal “the final judgment… and all orders leading to or producing that judgment.” That includes the ruling preventing Apple from blocking links to external payment options, interestingly.

Though this was just one of many legal battles Epic is fighting against the iPhone giant. The company has also filed suits against Apple in the UK, Australia and the EU – though the UK competition tribunal has already blocked the case.


About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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