Apple gets last-minute delay in complying with App Store changes after Epic lawsuit

A judge previously ordered Apple to let developers direct users to alternative payment methods.

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Kris Holt
December 8th, 2021
App Store icon displayed on a phone screen is seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021.  (Photo Ilustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Apple won't have to allow App Store developers to direct users to alternative payment systems for the time being. At the last minute, an appeals court judge granted Apple's motion to delay App Store changes that were to take effect on December 9th.

"Apple has demonstrated, at minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the district court's determination that Epic Games, Inc. failed to show Apple's conduct violated any antitrust laws but did show that the same conduct violated California's Unfair Competition Law," the decision reads, according to 9to5Mac. “Therefore, we grant Apple’s motion to stay part (i) of paragraph (1) of the permanent injunction. The stay will remain in effect until the mandate issues in this appeal.”

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who oversaw the case between Apple and Epic Games, issued an injunction in September to prevent Apple from stopping developers who wanted to include "buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing." Apple typically takes a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases, and these measures would have allowed developers to use other payment systems.

Apple filed an appeal against that permanent injunction in October, claiming that it would “take months to figure out the engineering, economic, business, and other issues” that were required of such changes. Judge Gonzalez Rogers denied the appeal, but Apple took it to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In August 2020, Epic informed Fortnite players on both iOS and Android that they'd receive a discount if they bought the virtual V-Bucks currency if they bypassed Apple and Google's in-app payment methods. The latter two companies removed the battle royale game from their stores and Epic swiftly filed suit against them both.

The Apple case went to trial in May. Judge Gonzales Rogers ruled in Apple's favor in almost all counts. Among other things, she determined that the App Store doesn't violate antitrust rules. Epic appealed the ruling a couple of days later.

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