Apple can no longer prevent app developers from directing users to payment options outside of its App Store, according to She said Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
The decision, which followed a court battle with the maker of the hugely popular Fortnite video game, is a major blow to the iPhone maker. But the company also scored a partial victory as the judge stopped calling it a monopoly.
The judge ruled that Apple had violated California’s unfair competition law by forcing Fortnite and its maker, Epic Games, to use Apple’s payment systems through the App Store while taking a 30 percent commission on every in-app purchase in the process.
It issued an injunction saying that Apple can no longer prevent developers from adding links within their apps to third-party payment options and alert users to the option to pay for a subscription through a web browser, rather than an app.
But the judge sided with Apple on the other allegations in the lawsuit, saying she could not conclude that it was a monopoly.
“Looking at the trial record, the court cannot conclude that Apple has a monopoly under federal or state antitrust laws,” the court documents said. Success is legal.
The final trial record did not include evidence of other critical factors, such as barriers to entry or reduced innovation in the relevant market.
The decision, which almost certainly could be appealed, came after a months-long legal battle that could change the way we use our smartphones.
In a statement, Apple framed the decision as a victory for itself and stressed that the court found it was not a monopoly.
“The court confirmed what we have known all along,” she said in the statement. The App Store does not violate antitrust law. We face stiff competition in every sector in which we do business. We believe that customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world.
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Apple should allow other forms of in-app purchases
In a series of tweets, Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said the company continues to fight.
“Today’s ruling is not a win-win for developers or consumers,” he added. We fight for fair competition between in-app payment methods and app stores for one billion consumers. Fortnite returns to the App Store whenever and wherever Epic Games can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple’s in-app payment.
An Epic Games spokesperson confirmed that the company plans to appeal the decision. Bell must be careful how she implements the order to avoid contempt of court after the injunction takes effect within 90 days.
In a separate ruling, the court confirmed that Epic Games had breached its contract with Apple when it implemented an alternative payment system in the Fortnite app.
As a result, Epic Games must pay Apple 30 percent of the total revenue generated through the system. Any amount over $3.5 million.
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