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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Apple v Epic: Court denies delay on App Store changes


A US federal judge has denied a plea by Apple to delay changes to its App Store as a result of its landmark legal battle with Epic Games.

Apple largely prevailed in its battle with the creator of Fortnite. It was told, however, that it could no longer prohibit developers from informing customers about non-Apple payment options.

Apple filed an appeal against the decision.

However, it has been denied permission to postpone the implementation of the change while its appeal is being heard.

That means that, beginning in December, app developers will be able to tell their customers that they do not have to use Apple’s payment system.

By opting out of the system, developers avoid paying Apple’s 15-30% cut of sales.

Currently, any mention of an external payment system within apps downloaded from Apple’s App Store is prohibited. A TV or movie streaming service, for example, would not be permitted to require users to sign up on a website before using the app.

‘Fundamentally flawed’

The initial ruling, issued in September by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, determined that Apple could not be considered a monopoly due to the way it manages its App Store or the fees it charges. “Success is not forbidden,” she wrote.

But, this week, she denied Apple’s request to postpone the implementation of the changes to the one key component it had lost.

“Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this court’s findings and disregards all of the findings that supported the injunction,” she wrote in her decision.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers added, “The motion is fundamentally flawed.”

She also criticised Apple’s request for a stay until all appeals are resolved – which could take years – rather than a limited one of a few months while it figured out how to change its long-standing rules.

“Other than perhaps needing time to establish guidelines, Apple has provided no credible reason for the court to believe that the injunction would cause the professed devastation,” she wrote in her decision.

App review can put links to the test. Users can open browsers and retype links to achieve the same effect; it is simply inconvenient, which works only to Apple’s advantage,” she wrote.

In a statement released to US media outlets, Apple stated that it intends to appeal to a different appeals court in order to have its bid approved.

If that also fails, Apple must make the changes by December 9, which is 90 days after the initial ruling was issued.

Epic has also appealed against the initial ruling, which it lost on nine of 10 issues.

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