Apple files appeal in Epic Games case, potentially delaying App Store changes for years

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  • Apple is asking for a stay on the injunction that says developers can add in-app links to non-Apple payment websites.
  • If Apple wins the stay, which will be decided by a judge in November, the change in Apple’s policies may not take effect until an appeal ends in the case, a process that could take years.
  • Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in Apple’s favor in nine of 10 cases in an antitrust trial brought by Epic Games in September.

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apple filed notice of appeal In the case of Epic Games and is request for accommodation On an injunction that lets developers add in-app links to payment websites, according to company representatives and documents filed Friday.

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If Apple wins the stay, which will be decided by a judge in November, a rule change potentially allows developers to withhold 15% to 30% of the App Store’s fees until the case ends an appeal. , a process that can take years.

Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple in nine of 10 cases in September in an antitrust trial brought by Fortnite maker Epic. Epic was looking for the ability to set up its own App Store on iPhones. Apple’s general counsel Kate Adams said the ruling was “a huge victory” at the time.

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But Apple was also ordered to make a major change to its stores and allow mobile apps to include external payment methods to consumers, providing a way to potentially avoid Apple’s App Store fees.

That injunction is currently due to take effect from December 9.

Apple hasn’t publicly stated how its App Store policies will change under the order, but some developers have already started building software based on their interpretation of the ruling.

“At a high level, it is my decision that, without thoughtful restrictions to protect consumers, developers and the iOS platform, this change will harm users, developers, and the iOS platform more generally,” said Tristan Kosminka, Apple Senior Director of Apps. of the Review, said in a filing on Friday.

Apple representatives said Apple could change its App Store policy and engage in discussions with the judge, eliminating the need for an injunction.

Over the past year, Apple has made several small concessions to critics of its app distribution rules in response to lawsuits and regulatory attention as part of a strategy to limit more major changes to its App Store. Apple has argued that it should be able to decide what software the company says is allowed to operate on iPhones in order to deliver a better user experience.

In a filing describing its rationale for the stay, Apple cited some concessions it made in August as part of a separate agreement with smaller developers. That settlement is still pending the approval of Judge Rogers.

Apple’s lawyers said in a court filing, “Staying requested will allow Apple to protect consumers and protect its platform while the company works through complex and rapidly evolving legal, technical, economic issues.” Is.”

The judge also ordered Epic to pay damages to Apple. Epic Games filed a notice of appeal in September. An Epic Games representative was not immediately available for comment.

If app makers are finally able to bill their own customers directly without using Apple’s in-app purchase system, it would threaten a profit engine for the company. The App Store is part of the company’s services business, which reported $53.8 billion in sales during fiscal 2020 on a 66% gross margin, which is roughly 20% of Apple’s revenue.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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