As early as September of this year, the judge charged with monitoring the Epic Games vs. Apple process came to a decision. Among other things, the judge decided that Apple must enable alternative payment options within the App Store. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well with Apple as the company needs to change a fundamental aspect of its digital storefront.
However, Apple appealed that part of the judge’s decision. That happened in early October. And while Apple championed the judge’s other verdicts on Epic Games, it is this one decision that has the potential to make the most lasting changes for Apple. Hence the appeal.
After a hearing on the lawsuit tonight, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Apple now has a deadline to follow up on the first decision: December 9, 2021. On that day, Apple must have a means for developers to get links as things stand and / or add buttons in their apps to enable external payment options. Payment options that avoid Apple’s first-party payment system.
The judge said, “Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of the court’s findings and ignores any findings in support of the injunction.” That motion was Apple’s first appeal that the judge denied Apple’s residence.
Apple’s attorney, Mark Perry, said during the process that Apple simply needs more time to draft anti-steering policies related to third-party payment options. In particular, these anti-steering guidelines are intended to prevent developers from adding links and / or buttons in their apps that refer to third-party payment options. He continued loudly The edge:
This is the first time Apple has allowed live links in a digital content app. It will take months to figure out the technical, economic, business, and other issues. It’s very complicated. There must be guard rails and guidelines in place to protect children, to protect developers, to protect consumers, to protect Apple. And they need to be set out in guidelines that can be explained, enforced and applied.
And of course, Perry would also add that these changes will harm not only iOS users but developers as well:
We believe these changes will disrupt the platform if Apple is forced to implement them. They will harm consumers. They will harm developers. It is a fact. It will happen.
The judge’s decision tonight appears to be due in part to the way Apple has moved to stand on its appeal. While Apple said it was merely trying to draft new guidelines, Apple’s requested restraining order was not limited in time. It was an open-ended injunction that, if allowed, Apple would do practically nothing for years while it “investigated” changes and theoretically worked out new rules and regulations for the App Store.
According to the judge:
You didn’t ask for extra time. You applied for an injunction that would effectively take years. You have asked for a flat-rate stay that can last 3, 4 or 5 years.
According to Perry, that wasn’t the case. Apple simply wanted to wait for the case to be fully resolved because the company was “confident” of winning the appeal.
The judge said Apple’s efforts to have “permanent residency with no obligation to abide by compliance” would not work. In addition, she said that “Apple has not provided the court with any credible reason to believe that the injunction would cause the alleged havoc.”
However, Apple is not giving up. It has already confirmed that it will file another appeal, this time with the Ninth Circle, as it was unable to get one from Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
An Apple spokesman said:
Apple believes that no further business changes should be required to take effect until all objections in this case are resolved. We intend to ask the Ninth Circle for a stay because of these circumstances.
So will the Ninth Circle fulfill Apple’s hopes here? We’ll have to wait and see. But as it stands now, the company has a deadline to make some big, sweeping changes to the App Store. Something that is dragging it out in South Korea, where it has also been forced to make similar changes.