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.


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.

Epic has already filed an appeal. The judge ruled that they must pay damages, probably millions and millions of dollars, for withholding the 30% fee that they agreed to.

I haven’t read anything about Apple issuing an appeal.

If you actually read the referenced document, here’s what it says:

Notice is hereby given that Epic Games, Inc., Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant in the above-named case, appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from the final Judgement entered on September 10, 2021 (ECF No. 814), and all orders leading to or producing that judgement, including but not limited to the Rule 52 Order After Trail on the Merits (ECF No. 812) and the Permanent Injuction (ECF No .813), each entered on the same date.

That’s ALL it says. There’s no supporting brief on what or why Epic is appealing.

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Epic very clearly states that they will “appeal the final judgment and all orders leading to or producing that judgment.”

This means they are objecting to just about everything in the entire judgement. They are appealing that Apple was judged not to be a monopolist. They are appealing that it did not require Apple to allow other app stores to sell apps that would run on Apple devices, or to allow third party in-app payments. It let the 15%/40% commission fees stand. But the ruling did not require Apple to restore Fortnight to the App Store, and it requires Epic to pay Apple at least $4 million in damages for violating the agreement it had signed with Apple.

The only charge that Epic raised that the judge agreed with was that Apple was violating the California law that allows developers to install links in apps that lead to other stores. That’s why they are appealing
“the final judgment and all orders leading to or producing that judgment.” This sounds very definitive to me.

OK. But I believe the Appeals Court needs something more than “we don’t like it” to actually rule on.

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Epic has filed a notice to appeal, not the actual appeal itself. The actual appeal will make substantial and lengthy legal arguments about why Epic thinks the ruling is unfair. So, yes, Epic is appealing, but no, they haven’t filed the actual appeal yet.

And now Apple is appealing its injunction. Unsurprising.

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