The court battle between Apple and Epic Games came to a head on Friday after the presiding judge ordered the tech giant to make a massive change to the way it makes money through its App Store. The ruling is a direct stab at the iPhone maker’s grip on the $100 billion market for mobile apps and games, and may even impact how Google conducts its business through its own Google Play store.
A federal judge issued a permanent injunction barring tech giant Apple from preventing developers from promoting other forms of in-app payment from their iOS apps. The injunction is to take effect on December 9.
The ruling from US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers was the culmination of the clash between Apple and video game publisher Epic Games, which produces Fortnite and hosts the Epic Games Store. Gonzalez Rogers issued a single-page permanent injunction demanding that Apple allow software developers to skirt the 30 per cent fee on in-app transactions.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted on Friday that “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers,” and that “Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”
“Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers,” he said.
“Thanks to everyone who put so much time and effort into the battle over fair competition on digital platforms, and thanks especially to the court for managing a very complex case on a speedy timeline. We will fight on.” Sweeney concluded.
Apple claimed the ruling as a win. The tech giant said it was carefully reviewing the full 180-page decision before further action.
“Today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law,” Apple said in a statement.
“As the Court recognized ‘success is not illegal.’ Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. We remain committed to ensuring the App Store is a safe and trusted marketplace that supports a thriving developer community and more than 2.1 million U.S. jobs, and where the rules apply equally to everyone.”
“Epic Games doing more on antitrust than the DOJ,” wrote Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Twitter in response to the ruling.