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Apple files appeal against in-app links to alternative payments ruling

The federal judge has ruled in favour of Apple for nine of ten counts

Apple files appeal against in-app links to alternative payments ruling

Apple has filed a notice of appeal in the case against Epic Games and is requesting a stay on the injunction that allows developers to add in-app links to payment websites.

This comes according to company representatives and documents filed on Friday.

If Apple does win the stay – which will be decided by a judge during November – then a change in rules enabling developers to circumvent App Store fees may not take effect until appeals in the case have finished. This process could take years.

Federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favour of Apple for nine of ten counts in an antitrust trial brought by Epic in September.

The judge also ordered Epic Games to pay damages to Apple. Epic Games filed a notice of appeal in September, with an Epic Games representative declining to comment.

However, Apple was ordered to make a major change to its store allowing mobile apps to lead consumers to outside payment methods, providing a potential method to evade Apple’s App Store fees.

This injunction is currently scheduled to be in effect as of 9 December 2021. Apple has yet to explain publicly how App Store policies would change under the order, but developers have started building software based on their interpretation of the ruling.

“At a high level, it is my judgment that, without thoughtful restrictions in place to protect consumers, developers and the iOS platform, this change will harm users, developers and the iOS platform more generally,” Trystan Kosmynka, Apple’s senior director of App Review, said.

Apple representatives have said that Apple might be able to change its App Store policy and engage in discussions with the judge, eliminating the need for an injunction.

Taking little bites

Apple has made several small concessions to critics of its app distribution rules in response to lawsuits and regulatory attention in the past year as part of a strategy to limit more major changes to its App Store.

It has contended that it should be able to decide what software is allowed to operate on iPhones in order to deliver ‘a better user experience’.

Apple cited some concessions it has made as part of a separate settlement with small developers in August in a filing describing its reasoning for the stay.

“The requested stay will allow Apple to protect consumers and safeguard its platform while the company works through the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, economic issues that any revisions to this guideline would implicate,” Apple lawyers said in a court filing.

If app makers are ultimately able to bill their own customers directly, without using Apple’s in-app purchase system, it would threaten the company’s profit.

The App Store is part of the company’s services business, which reported $53.8 billion in sales during the 2020 fiscal year at a 66% gross margin, accounting for about 20% of Apple’s revenue.


Staff Writer

Aaron is the Staff Writer at PG.biz and has long enjoyed a good turn-based strategy game. He has spent many more hours playing Fire Emblem Heroes than he cares to admit.

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