Judge Rules for Apple over Epic Games; Strikes Down App Store Anti-Steering Policies

Originally published at: Judge Rules for Apple over Epic Games; Strikes Down App Store Anti-Steering Policies - TidBITS

In Epic Games v. Apple, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has come down strongly in favor of Apple, rejecting nearly all of Epic’s claims and fining the company millions of dollars. But Apple suffered a blow too, with the judge determining that Apple’s in-app purchasing policies are anticompetitive.

First, I’d suggest reading the decision. It’s 180 pages, but most of it isn’t that hard to understand. Then read Florian Mueller’s (no friend of Apple) take: FOSS Patents: No, the Epic v. Apple injunction absolutely positively DOESN'T allow developers to incorporate 'buttons' for alternative IN-APP payment mechanisms That, along with the Thompson article, should give you a reasonable sense of the ruling. (Claimer: IANAL.)

It’ll be -very interesting- to see what Apple does going forward to conform to both this ruling (if it’s not overturned on appeal) AND the new Korean law. (Me, I think Apple should have a 2-tier pricing scheme for games, the traditional one for those without in-app purchases, and a different pricing scheme for those that do have in-app purchases. And I’m presuming a ‘no less than offered on the App Store system’ would also be part of that.)

If you’re a Fortnite/Epic fan, don’t hold your breath for a return to iOS. Sweeney’s underhanded scheme -and- the ruling in Epic v Apple will, I’m sure, keep Fortnite out of the App Store for quite a while longer.

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Thanks for that link—Florian Mueller does make a compelling case, and we’ll see what happens. I do think that developers will try pretty much everything they can, and when they’re rejected by Apple, they’ll go to the court. Then it will be up to the court to evaluate each attempt at an end-run around Apple’s policies and see which meet its criteria.

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Epic already filed an appeal. I wonder if Apple will do so as well? This could be the first skirmish in a long, drawn out war; the pressure is still on Apple. I think the chances are good that this case will end up in the US Supreme Court.

IANAL, but I think Epic filed only ‘notice of intent to appeal’. Until they file a brief that identifies exactly what they’re appealing, it’s just a “reservation on the docket.” That brief, when it comes out, will be interesting to read. Then Apple will respond, there’ll probably be some amici briefs on the points of law, etc, etc.