A federal judge’s ruling that could compel Apple Inc. to alter its App Store payment policies was upheld by a U.S. appeals court on Monday.
Apple stated that it may challenge the ruling.
In an antitrust dispute brought by the “Fortnite” creator Epic Games, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a 2021 decision that might compel Apple to permit developers to give links and buttons for third-party in-app payment choices and avoid paying sales commissions to the iPhone manufacturer.
At $165.33, Apple shares closed the day marginally higher. The appeals court agreed with the trial court that Apple’s App Store policies do not violate antitrust laws and upheld its commissions of up to 30% for in-app purchases. The appeals court also ruled with Apple on nine other issues in the case.
Apple issued a statement claiming, “For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple abides by antitrust laws at the state and federal levels.” On the one remaining claim under state law, we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are thinking about conducting more research.
Apple did not specify whether it intended to appeal to the US Supreme Court or to a broader panel of judges on the 9th Circuit. The business has 14 days to submit an appeal. Orders issued by the trial court will be suspended while any appeals are processed.
The trial court judgment, according to a statement from Epic, “frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there,” even though the company recognized that it lost on its antitrust arguments. We are preparing our next moves.
While the majority of Epic’s claims that Apple had broken antitrust laws were rejected at trial, the trial judge did conclude that by forbidding developers from informing consumers about alternative payment methods, Apple had broken California’s statutes against unfair competition.
The trial court judge ruled that links and buttons to third-party payment choices could no longer be blocked by Apple. But unlike competition regulators in numerous nations, the trial court judge did not provide guidance on how Apple must permit those links or buttons, opening the door to potential future legal disputes over the required changes.
The appeals court determined that the trial court’s order requiring Apple to alter its conduct was proper since it would be impossible to quantify the harm that Apple’s policy caused to Epic.
“The district court did not clearly err in finding that Epic suffered an injury for which monetary damages would be inadequate,” the 9th Circuit stated in a ruling on Monday.
Due to pressure from competition regulators in other nations like South Korea, the Netherlands, and Japan, Apple was forced to make its in-app payment methods available to all users.