Both Apple and Epic take a hit in App Store suit
The Future. The battle between Apple and Epic seems to have ended (for now). Surprisingly, the judge found that both parties were wrong and right, judging that Apple needs to allow alternative payment options for in-app purchases, while Epic needs to pay back Apple for breaking its contract. It wasn’t what either party wanted, and now the future of the App Store may be in the hands of users… will they really want to navigate to an outside website to pay for things in an app?
Give & take
In Apple v. Epic, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that both were kind of in the wrong.
- Apple must allow apps to direct users to payment options outside of those that Apple offers, which would let users bypass the 30% App Store tax.
- Epic was also (prematurely) in the wrong for setting up an alternative payment system within Fortnite, so it must pay Apple $3.5 million back in revenue.
Each company has 90 days to comply, unless reversed by a higher court. Epic already plans to appeal.
Judge & Jury
Additionally, Judge Rogers believes that both companies have incorrect definitions of which marketplace is being abused, claiming that “the relevant market here is digital mobile gaming transactions, not gaming generally and not Apple’s own internal operating systems related to the App Store.”
Because of that determination, Judge Rogers was unable to determine whether Apple was a monopoly under the current law, but did say it was “engaging in anticompetitive conduct.” She chastised Apple for refusing to lower its revenue cut unless compelled by legal rulings.
Nonetheless, this was not the result that Epic wanted to hear. According to CEO Tim Sweeney, “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers,” and he won’t put Fortnite back on the App Store until “Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.”