Apple appeals Epic ruling in attempt to delay App Store changes

The one ruling in Epic's favour found Apple in violation of the state of California’s anti-steering laws

Apple has filed a notice of appeal of the ruling in its trial against Epic in a bid to delay App Store payment changes that would take effect starting December.

The tech giant is appealing the court ruling of the antitrust case against Epic Games which was announced last month and saw Apple win nine of the ten claims Epic had brought against it.

However, the one claim that ruled in favour of Epic saw the judge find that Apple violated the state of California’s anti-steering laws and illegally prevented consumers from exercising their choice of which payment system to use for in-app purchases. 

Therefore, the judge ruled that, from December 2021, Apple would have to allow developers to link to non-App Store payment systems.

Although Apple first described the ruling as a “resounding victory”, it’s now appealing and has requested that the court pause the ordered implementation of the new policy.

The tech giant is arguing that allowing developers to link external payment systems could put consumers at risk of financial scams.

Although the links could be subject to moderation, Apple stated that “there is nothing stopping a developer from changing the landing point for that link or altering the content of the destination webpage”. 

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“Additionally, Apple currently has no ability to determine whether a user who clicks on an external link actually received the products or features she paid for. Apple already receives hundreds of thousands of reports each day from users, and allowing links to external payment options would only increase this burden,” reads the court document submitted by the tech giant.

Apple also argued that Epic “offered no evidence that it was harmed by the anti-steering provisions” and has “no standing to enforce the injunction” because its apps remain banned from the App Store. On 22 September, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that “Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process”.

Epic had already appealed the court ruling, filing a request two days after the verdict was announced on 10 September. The continuation of the legal battle could see both companies lose billions of dollars in legal fees, with further uncertainty for app developers. 

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