Apple appeals ruling in Epic Games lawsuit, requests stay on App Store changes

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 8
Apple on Friday filed an appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers' ruling in the recent Epic Games lawsuit, and seeks to stay an injunction that would force changes to the App Store's "anti-steering" provisions.

Epic Games


Lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple's appeal and motion to stay could push back enforcement of court-ordered App Store changes for years as the case winds its way through the legal system.

In an attempt to sidestep App Store commissions, Epic last year surreptitiously integrated and activated a direct payment alternative in its popular game "Fortnite." After Apple pulled the game for flouting App Store guidelines, the gaming company sued citing antitrust concerns.

While Apple prevailed on nine out of 10 counts, Judge Rogers took issue with App Store rules that prohibit developers from including in-app options like buttons and links to direct customers to third-party payment methods. An order accompanying the decision calls on Apple to eliminate those restrictions and allow app makers to "[communicate] with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app."

The injunction, scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 9, forces a rule change that would allow developers to sidestep Apple's up to 30% cut of App Store proceeds. Companies are already preparing APIs to take advantage of the coming shift.

For its part, Apple continues to argue that directing users to alternate payment mechanisms is an inherently dangerous proposition. Consumers could be led to malicious websites designed to glean personal information and payment details, the company says. Use of external payment systems also hamstrings Apple's efforts to identify and combat fraud, and implementation of the injunction would necessitate a considerable engineering effort involving new security protocols, fee collection structures, App Store guidelines and more.

Apple has made piecemeal concessions as critics scrutinize its App Store practices. In August, the company agreed to settle a class action lawsuit by creating a $100 million fund for small developers and changing App Store policy to include allowances for app makers to contact customers about alternative payment methods. More recently, Apple said it plans to allow "reader" apps to link out to the web for account management purposes, a compromise made to close a Japan Fair Trade Commission investigation into App Store policy.

"Apple is carefully working through many complex issues across a global landscape, seeking to enhance information flow while protecting both the efficient functioning of the App Store and the security and privacy of Apple's customers," Apple says in the filing. "Striking the right balance may solve the Court's concerns making the injunction (and perhaps even Apple's appeal itself) unnecessary."

Epic filed its own appeal of the ruling in September, a day prior to paying Apple $6 million in damages for its "Fortnite" stunt.

Judge Rogers will hear Apple's appeal on Nov. 16.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,657member
    This is hardly "going nuclear" but it's a good, small step by Cook.
    bshank9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,635member
    Keep it tied up in the courts for as long as you can, Apple. Let Epic twist at the end of its rope. I don’t know anyone who switched to Android just so they could play Fortnite
    9secondkox2williamlondonbadmonkBeatsargonautwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 17
    Apple can't refund users who go down this route. But even if Apple's cut was 0% developers wouldn't be happy.

    Take Gruber's example about the New York Times - if the subscription was made through the app using IAP: then unsubscribing is a simple tap of the button. If one chooses to subscribe through the website - then unsubscribing requires the subscriber to call the NYT and sit through an account retention person's best attempts at keeping you - a clear disconnect between the ease of placing the subscription online.

    We also don't need to go very far back to see what less scrupulous companies get up to: Premium SMS gave us a taste of that. With users being surreptitiously charged high and repeating fees - to the order of thousands of dollars. Worse still, unsubscribing from them was equally byzantine - obscure wait periods and hoops for the user to jump through - the prevalence of debit-based Mastercards/Visas worsens that situation.

    We don't see a similar effort being made with Kindles or Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft consoles - there seems to be this idea that Apple's store is somehow cost-less while those other stores aren't?

    9secondkox2williamlondonspock1234badmonkroundaboutnowwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 17
    If a company wishes to use Apple’s infrastructure, presumably it should pay. If it doesn’t want to pay, it sets up an alternative.  I think it can also be assumed Apple spent and continues to spend substantial sums setting up and running the App Store for which recompense would seem reasonable from app developers out of the payment made by the buying public.  As Apple provides a unique system, this presumably, allows Apple to charge more.  Why do small companies which have grown large simply because of Apple then feel it is not necessary to pay for that success? 
    spock1234badmonkBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Was waiting to hear this. 

    The appeal is right and the ruling should be overturned. 

    Apple’s App Store is not a charity. 

    They get to set the rules snd the cost of doing business. 

    They more than deserve getting paid for their partnership and the store they provide. The privacy, security snd quality control are light years beyond anyone else and that’s due to the effort they’ve made. That costs a lot of money. The previous judge completely left out the thought of manpower and how much that costs as well. 

    The whole idea of adding links to other stores is absurd. I don’t see a graphic on a cereal box in wal mart telling me to buy from aldi etc. 

    Stores have their own rules snd some of that is to strengthen their position on a crowded marketplace. 

    Apple itself is in a market that is crowded with many players. The fact that they are doing well in that market is a good thing. Not an excuse to hack away at their business model. 

    Their is no antitrust. No monopoly. No breaking of the law going on. How the previous judge went above their pay grade and basically legislated from the bench is beyond rational thought. 

    Let’s see a judge on appeal who actually does their job snd simply rules based on right snd wrong according to the law. 
    maximaraspock1234badmonkwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 17
    I just don't buy the idea that companies/developers are unable to effectively communicate with customers or potential customers outside of the app itself. 
    williamlondonthtKTRHedwarespock1234sdw2001Beatswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 17
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,657member
    The people who think Apple does nothing in exchange for its 30% fee are idiots. The people who know that Apple does provide a service but shouldn't be allowed to charge a fee of their own choosing are communists. I'm not sure which is worse.
    maximaraspock12349secondkox2Beatsapplguywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 17
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 370member
    There is nothing keeping Apple from charging per download for the freeloaders. 
    KTRspock12349secondkox2Beatsapplguywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 17
    YP101YP101 Posts: 133member
    Free game is free game. Nothing more.. I wonder why people pay something like digital contents like skins to your play characters. Does it makes better player?
    I wonder when Epic and other game company stop those hacking players.

    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    I just don't buy the idea that companies/developers are unable to effectively communicate with customers or potential customers outside of the app itself. 
    I don’t think Apple would mind that communication either, as long as it’s not used to circumvent the App Store fees or lure customers into unfair/insecure deals.

    But we all know what would be the first thing these developer companies would do if such communication was possible. And we all know it would damage not only that specific app but the whole iOS ecosystem.
    edited October 9 spock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,119member
    Aren’t Epic also appealing?  Seems odd that a ruling would be disputed by both sides.
    muthuk_vanalingamelijahgargonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Their is no antitrust. No monopoly. No breaking of the law going on. How the previous judge went above their pay grade and basically legislated from the bench is beyond rational thought. 

    Let’s see a judge on appeal who actually does their job snd simply rules based on right snd wrong according to the law. 

    To be fair to the Judge that one point Apple lost on seems to be due to California state law not federal law.  I have no idea how well that part will hold up via appeal.
    spock12349secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    crowley said:
    Aren’t Epic also appealing?  Seems odd that a ruling would be disputed by both sides.
    Actually Epic appealed first.  By doing so Apple can take the PR high road.  It wouldn't surprise me if after this mess Apple doesn't put some binding arbitration clause in its developer contracts - if you are over $x (likely the 1 million for the 30%) you must go through arbitration.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    I guess you would be happy for every farmer to be in contact with you just because you bought your food from the local supermarket. Maybe so would the packaging company; maybe the truck drivers who delivered the food to the supermarket; maybe the supermarket’s manager? Where would you draw the line.
    williamlondonspock12349secondkox2Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    maximara said:
    Their is no antitrust. No monopoly. No breaking of the law going on. How the previous judge went above their pay grade and basically legislated from the bench is beyond rational thought. 

    Let’s see a judge on appeal who actually does their job snd simply rules based on right snd wrong according to the law. 

    To be fair to the Judge that one point Apple lost on seems to be due to California state law not federal law.  I have no idea how well that part will hold up via appeal.
    Not aware of a state law that supports this. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,746member
    crowley said:
    Aren’t Epic also appealing?  Seems odd that a ruling would be disputed by both sides.
    Apple is doing what it has to do.  They'll push it as far as they can to avoid changes.  If changes are required, it will first be tied up for years in court.  Meanwhile, Apple gets to spend the time yelling "suck it!" in Epic's general direction.  Oh, and in the worst case scenario, they'll just make it more trouble than its worth for developers to use third party payment systems (all while still getting their cut).  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 17
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,831member
    As long as Apple requests/obtains my permission to release my email address to the developer and the developer doesn’t then monopolise payments by having only their store available.
    I don’t want to have to deal with dozens of shady, underhanded organisations as they seek to monetise every digital move I make.

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