Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney reacts to the ruling in Apple’s lawsuit.
A major ruling in Epic vs. Apple has been rendered that could have significant implications for the future of the App Store.
Injunctions issued in the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit would prohibit Apple from requiring developers to use its payment methods in AppStore games and apps. This landmark ruling could help make the App Store, once a walled garden, more competitive.
The injunction was issued by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers today, September 10th. It is scheduled to go into effect on December 9th. The injunction states that Apple is “hereby permanently restrained” and “enjoined to prohibit developers from (i] including in their apps and their meta buttons, external links or other calls-to-action that direct customers to purchase mechanisms in addition to in app purchasing, and (ii) communicating directly with customers via points of contact obtained from customers through account registration within Apple’s app.”
The court essentially ruled that developers of apps and games can now use third-party payment methods to download and play App Store games and apps. This allows them to avoid Apple’s 30% transaction fees.
Epic had updated Fortnite mobile with an option to purchase directly from Apple, bypassing Apple’s restrictions. This led to the lawsuit. The game was then removed from the iOS Store. Epic’s lawsuit has been centered on Apple’s allegedly monopolistic revenue policies, despite all the tangents.
In a series of tweets, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney affirmed that “Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.” He stressed that today’s ruling was not a win for either developers or consumers. Epic is fighting to ensure fair competition between in-app payment methods, app stores, and apps for one billion consumers.
This injunction will reinforce and add to changes which Apple recently announced in response to a different lawsuit. Although the company stated that it would allow developers access to third-party payment information with players through external communication, it must now allow developers to integrate those methods.
It’s worth noting that the full ruling is less clear-cut than this injunction may imply. Although the court found that Apple’s anti-steering practices were anticompetitive, it didn’t find that Apple was an antitrust monopolist within the mobile gaming transaction submarket. While Epic is undeniably today’s winner, and it’s not the only developer who will benefit from these AppStore changes, it will still have to pay Apple 30% for the $12,167 719 in revenue it received during Fortnite’s brief window where it was allowed direct payments via iOS.