Apple Can No Longer Force Developers to Use In-App Purchasing, Judge Rules in Epic Games Case

Samantha Klein
International Business Writer

Friday, September 10th marks a win for consumers following the conclusion of the trial between Apple and Epic Games.

Apple is no longer allowed to prohibit developers from promoting their own, often cheaper, payment methods as an alternative to Apple’s own in app purchasing.

Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rodgers handed down the decision putting an end to Apple’s anti-steering provisions in the highly publicized Epic Games vs Apple trial. A result that will be put into effect in December.

This conclusion is only a partial win for the development company Epic Games. Epic challenged Apple’s conduct and lost to the tech giant in nine out of ten courts. And Epic must pay reparations to Apple for breaching their contract from October 2020 to the date of the trial. Reparations amount to 30% of the revenue ($12,167,719) made on the Fortnite app on IOS through Epic Direct Payment between August and October 2020 plus 30% of any such revenue Epic games collected from November 1, 2020 through the date of judgement, and interest according to law.

The legal dispute began after Apple took Epic Games’s popular app, Fortnite, off the IOS app store. This occurred following Epic’s promotion of in-game purchases on their own site at a discounted rate. Epic advertised their store to offer cheaper prices to their consumers and to avoid Apple’s 30% cut of profits made through the IOS app store.

In response to the removal, Epic Games filed a lawsuit claiming Apple’s monopoly over the IOS App Store violates Anti-Trust laws. Apple refuted these allegations by stating it is competing in the “gaming market,” and not its App Store alone. This makes it impossible for the company to have a monopoly over the market. The court ultimately ruled that the relevant market of competition is digital mobile gaming transactions, a market entirely different from those proposed by both Apple and Epic Games.

It was determined that Apple was not a monopolist, a result Apple general counsel Kate Adams says the company is very pleased with.

Pictured above is the game Fortnite developed by Epic Games (Photo courtesy of Google Images)

Despite the outcome of the case allowing developers to redirect consumers to their own stores for in app purchasing, Epic Games’s CEO Tim Sweeney is not satisfied with this result. Sweeney expressed his discontent in a Tweet, “Today’s ruling isn’t for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”

Apple’s grip is loosening on developers with the allowance of 3rd party purchases in their apps, but Epic was aiming to achieve a much higher reform with their case against the tech conglomerate.

The court’s official ruling alluded to the possibility of Apple being a monopolist, but Epic Games has failed to demonstrate this in their case, a statement that generates some hope for Epic Games’ mission of fair competition.

Epic Games refuses to concede in their battle against Apple. The company announced that they would be appealing the court’s decision to try and gain a more favorable outcome.


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