In a major blow to Apple, a US court ruled in favor of Epic Games in its lawsuit against the iPhone manufacturer. The hearing lasted for nearly a year. After developers tried to bypass Apple’s payment system policy, Apple removed Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App Store. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney (Tim Sweeney) filed a lawsuit, questioning Apple will cut the income of purchases through the App Store by 30%. On September 10, 2021, Judge Gonzalez-Rogers announced his ruling in favor of Epic Games. The order removed Apple’s restrictions on how developers receive payments in apps.
According to the new order, Apple “permanently restricts and prohibits developers from including their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other call-to-actions to guide customers to purchase mechanisms.” The order further stipulates that, Apple cannot prohibit developers from communicating with customers through the contact information that the developer obtains when the customer registers in the app.
Judge Gonzalez-Rogers did not ascertain that Apple is a monopolist under the US federal or state antitrust laws. Apple was found to be “engaged in anti-competitive behavior under California’s competition laws.”
The ruling came days after Apple announced that developers of applications such as Netflix, Spotify could set up links outside of its applications for account management. The latest ban will take effect in 90 days. Apple will have to allow applications other than the permitted applications to redirect or set up a third-party payment system.
However, the judge supported Apple’s counterclaim that Epic violated the App Store contract after adding a direct payment option to Fortnite for iOS. For its actions, Epic will have to pay “a loss equivalent to (i) 30% of the $12,167,719 revenue that Epic Games received from the user’s Fortnite app on iOS between August and October 2020 through Epic Direct Payment, Plus (ii)) From November 1, 2020 to the date of the judgment, Epic Games will collect 30% of any such income and collect interest in accordance with the law,” 9to5Mac reported.
After adding the direct payment system to Fortnite, the court also did not find that Apple’s decision to terminate the Epic developer account was illegal. It allows Apple to decide whether to allow Fortnite to relist in the App Store. “Apple’s termination of DPLA and the relevant agreements between Epic Games and Apple are valid, legal and enforceable, and (ii) Apple has the right to terminate any or all of Epic Games’ wholly-owned subsidiaries, affiliates, affiliates, and/or Other entities under the control of Epic Games are at the discretion of Apple,” the ruling stated.
After the ruling, Apple issued a statement that read: “Today, the court confirmed what we have always known: App Store did not violate antitrust laws. As the court recognized, “success is not illegal.” Apple said Every area of our business is facing fierce competition. We believe that customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. We are still committed to ensuring that the App Store is a safe and trustworthy The market supports a thriving developer community and more than 2.1 million U.S. jobs, and the rules apply equally to everyone.”