Months after the trial between Epic Games and Apple began, a ruling has been filed which finds Apple not in violation of existing Anti-trust laws at the state level in California nor federal. This ruling doesn’t move the needle in how Apple operates its App Store, nor does it allow other marketplaces to exist on Apple devices. However, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers has issued a permanent injunction against Apple that opens the doors for how payments can be processed within applications on iOS devices.
Here’s the relevant text from the injunction statement. We’ll go over what it means after:
Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.
In non-law speak, Apple will no longer prevent app developers from going around Apple’s services for in-app purchases. In effect, Apple will not claim a transaction fee from any purchases using services outside of their ecosystem. Developers will be free to include links to outside payment vendors of their choosing when the injunction goes into effect in 90 days. That date will be December 9, though it could change if another conflicting legal order comes about.
Judge Gonzalez-Rogers’ full ruling on the dispute is now available and clocks in around 200 pages which can be read here. In short, Epic failed to prove that Apple was monopolistic in the gaming space and thus did not slam the proverbial gavel down in Fortnite creator’s favor. The ruling and subsequent injunction on payments are sure to have ripple effects throughout the industry, and especially with other environments like Google’s Android, or console gaming.