Apple files Epic Games appeal that could delay changes

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, center, arrives at U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif. On Friday, May 21, 2021.

Nina Riggio | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple filed a notice of appeal in the case of Epic Games and is request a stay on the injunction that allows developers to add in-app links to payment sites, according to company officials and documents filed Friday.

If Apple wins the stay, which will be decided by a judge in November, a rule change that potentially allows developers to bypass App Store fees of 15-30% may not take effect until after the appeals go through. case completed, a process that could take years.

In September, federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple on nine of ten counts in an antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic, the maker of Fortnite. Epic was looking for the possibility of installing its own app store on iPhones. Kate Adams, Apple’s general counsel, said at the time that the decision was a “huge victory.”

But Apple has also been ordered to make a major change to its store and allow mobile apps to direct consumers to external payment methods, potentially offering a way to evade App Store fees. ‘Apple.

This injunction is currently expected to come into effect on December 9.

Apple has not publicly explained how its App Store policies would change under the order, but some developers have already started creating software based on their interpretation of the decision.

“At a high level, I believe that without thoughtful restrictions in place to protect consumers, developers and the iOS platform, this change will harm users, developers and the iOS platform in general,” Trystan Kosmynka , senior manager of Apple. from App Review, said in a filing Friday.

Apple may be able to change its App Store policy and initiate discussions with the judge, eliminating the need for an injunction, Apple officials said.

Over the past year, Apple has made several small concessions to criticism of its app distribution rules in response to lawsuits and regulatory attention as part of a strategy to limit larger changes to its App. Store. Apple argued that it should be able to decide which software is allowed to run on iPhones in order to deliver what the company says is a better user experience.

In a document outlining its reasoning for the suspension, Apple cites some concessions it made as part of a separate settlement with small developers in August. This settlement is still awaiting the approval of Judge Rogers.

“The requested suspension will allow Apple to protect consumers and safeguard its platform as the company resolves the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological and economic issues that any review of this directive would involve,” said lawyers for ‘Apple in a court case.

The judge also ordered Epic to pay damages to Apple. Epic Games filed a notice of appeal in September. An Epic Games representative declined to comment.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney joked about the call on Twitter.

If app makers are ultimately able to bill their own customers directly, without using Apple’s in-app purchasing system, that would threaten a profit engine for the company. The App Store is part of the services business of the company, which achieved revenue of $ 53.8 billion in fiscal 2020 with a gross margin of 66%, accounting for around 20 % of Apple’s revenue.

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