Apple speaks out against Epic's contempt of court accusation

Posted:
in iOS edited March 14

Following Epic Games's requesting that Apple should be held in contempt of court over what it alleges is failure to comply with an anti-steering ruling, Apple has issued a rare direct response.

Playing 'Fortnite' on an iPhone
Playing 'Fortnite' on an iPhone



The long-running legal battle between Epic Games and Apple appeared to end in January 2024, with Apple winning all but one of the case's points. Now Epic Games has accused Apple of failing to comply on that one injunction by not implementing anti-steering measures to help rivals communicate directly with their users.

In response, an Apple spokesperson has sent AppleInsider extracts from its formal Statement of Compliance. It begins with a claim that "As of January 16, 2024, Apple has fully complied with the Injunction," and details how it has changed its previous rules on developers contacting customers directly.

"[Apple] is striking the relevant parts of the App Store Review Guidelines applicable to apps on the US storefronts of the iOS and iPadOS App Stores and implementing new rules," says the statement. It specifies that Apple is now permitting developers to "include in their apps buttons or links with calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms in addition to IAP [Apple's in-app purchasing]."

Apple says that developers can now also "communicate with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app." Apple says that this gives developers "the option of informing consumers, both within and outside the app, about alternative purchase mechanisms in addition to IAP."

Epic had claimed that Apple's rules "impose prohibitions on developers that this Court found unlawful and enjoined." The games company said that the "new policies frustrate and effectively nullify the relief the Court ordered."

In response to this, Apple noted that:

The Court described the Injunction as a "limited measure" that "balance[d] the justification for maintaining a cohesive ecosystem with the public interest in uncloaking the veil hiding pricing information on mobile devices and bringing transparency to the marketplace." Perry Decl. Ex. 5, at 166.

The Court recognized, however, that while transparency and consumer choice are important, Apple and millions of iPhone users still have a substantial interest in the "integrity of the ecosystem." Id. at 164.

The Court expressly noted that Apple could continue to require the use of IAP for in-app transactions. Perry Decl. Ex. 7, at 4. Moreover, the Court clarified that Apple could still "take steps to protect users" from new threats created by the Injunction's mandate. Perry Decl. Ex. 7, at 3.

The Court stated it would not "micromanage" the new framework. Id. The Ninth Circuit stayed the Injunction pending issuance of the appellate mandate. See Perry Decl. Ex. 8.

The App Store is a powerful digital ecosystem.
The App Store is a powerful digital ecosystem.



Apple also defended how it has mandated that App Store developers must follow certain rules in order to have this direct communication with customers.

"As Apple has previously explained, and Epic has never disputed, unregulated external payment links will "harm users, developers, and the iOS platform more generally." Perry Decl. Ex. 12 10.5

In order to minimize the considerable risks posed by external payment links, Apple will require developers to adhere to certain requirements to qualify for and use the Link Entitlement. These requirements are necessary to protect user privacy and security, maintain the integrity of Apple's ecosystem, promote the flow of information, avoid user confusion, and enable efficient review of developers' apps by App Review.

They also guard against the uncompensated use of, among other things, Apple's platform, services (including but not limited to marketing and external advertising), and proprietary tools and technologies protected by intellectual property. Fischer Decl. 22, 35.

The requirements are informed by Apple's substantial experience. Id. 21; see also Perry Decl. Ex. 7, at 3 (noting that Apple could look to "alternatives outside the app" like the reader rule to promote security and maintain its ecosystem); Perry Decl. Ex. 5, at 37 (recognizing that privacy and security are not "static" issues, and require Apple to respond and react to new developments and technological advancements)."



Separately, Epic Games is continuing to press the European Union over Apple. In that case, its criticisms concern what it alleges is Apple's "malicious compliance" in only technically following the laws of the Digital Markets Act.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Can someone explain to me why only Apple is getting attacked? Consoles such as the Switch and Playstation don’t allow alternative app stores. In the switch’s Fortnite case VBucks aren’t usable if you got them from outside the switch store/battle pass. In fact I logged into my account on Playstation and I had 4,700 vbucks while My Switch said 700.
    lolliverwilliamlondonchadbagwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 431administrator
    Can someone explain to me why only Apple is getting attacked? Consoles such as the Switch and Playstation don’t allow alternative app stores. In the switch’s Fortnite case VBucks aren’t usable if you got them from outside the switch store/battle pass. In fact I logged into my account on Playstation and I had 4,700 vbucks while My Switch said 700.
    This is why: https://data.ai/en/insights/mobile-gaming/2023-gaming-spotlight-report/
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonfreeassociate2apple4thewinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,388member
    jSnively said:
    Can someone explain to me why only Apple is getting attacked? Consoles such as the Switch and Playstation don’t allow alternative app stores. In the switch’s Fortnite case VBucks aren’t usable if you got them from outside the switch store/battle pass. In fact I logged into my account on Playstation and I had 4,700 vbucks while My Switch said 700.
    This is why: https://data.ai/en/insights/mobile-gaming/2023-gaming-spotlight-report/
    Thanks, and it makes perfect sense. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 17
    The tax man could argue my malicious compliance because I use every letter of the law I can to pay the least amount of taxes possible. Anything more is fiscally irresponsible. 
    And I still fill out a paper return, which they probably don’t like because it’s more work for them to process. 
    williamlondontimpetusKierkegaardenlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    williamlondontimpetuslolliverdanoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    Separately, Epic Games is continuing to press the European Union over Apple. In that case, its criticisms concern what it alleges is Apple's "malicious compliance" in only technically following the laws of the Digital Markets Act.

    If you’re “technically” following the law, are you not acting legally?
    williamlondonlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,132member
    Can someone explain to me why only Apple is getting attacked? Consoles such as the Switch and Playstation don’t allow alternative app stores. In the switch’s Fortnite case VBucks aren’t usable if you got them from outside the switch store/battle pass. In fact I logged into my account on Playstation and I had 4,700 vbucks while My Switch said 700.
    Huh? The injunction at issue has nothing to do with alternative app stores. That issue wasn't even raised by Epic. 

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,132member

    Separately, Epic Games is continuing to press the European Union over Apple. In that case, its criticisms concern what it alleges is Apple's "malicious compliance" in only technically following the laws of the Digital Markets Act.

    If you’re “technically” following the law, are you not acting legally?
    No. Technically means doing what it takes to make it appear as you're complying with the literal requirements, but in a way that completely eviscerates the purpose of the requirements.  So when a court states allow linking outside the app to promote competition, but you then allow it while imposing a higher cost on the developer, that compliance is technical. 

    https://casetext.com/case/zest-anchors-llc-v-geryon-ventures-llc-5

    https://casetext.com/case/inst-of-cetacean-research-v-sea-shepherd-conservation-socy-1

    edited March 14 williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 17
    flydog said:

    Separately, Epic Games is continuing to press the European Union over Apple. In that case, its criticisms concern what it alleges is Apple's "malicious compliance" in only technically following the laws of the Digital Markets Act.

    If you’re “technically” following the law, are you not acting legally?
    No. Technically means doing what it takes to make it appear as you're complying with the literal requirements, but in a way that completely eviscerates the purpose of the requirements.  So when a court states allow linking outside the app to promote competition, but you then allow it while imposing a higher cost on the developer, that compliance is technical. 

    https://casetext.com/case/zest-anchors-llc-v-geryon-ventures-llc-5

    https://casetext.com/case/inst-of-cetacean-research-v-sea-shepherd-conservation-socy-1

    Or, more likely it’s shitty writing of the law or legal decision. Compliant is compliant, full-stop. 
    williamlondonlolliverbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    Apple has never dumped on Microsoft?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 17
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,101member
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 

     I have to say it but Sweeny Todd is lucky Steve Jobs isn't alive and was still the current CEO....... :)  Tim Cook has shown strong quiet leadership over the last few years with crazy governments and even more erratic CEO's around. 



    edited March 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,081member
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    Apple has never dumped on Microsoft?

    Are you asking because you don't know?

    Or are you putting it in a form of a question to make it seem that you do know the Apple has dumped on Microsoft and making it seem obvious?

    If you have have instances of Apple dumping on Microsoft, then I would think many here would like to know what you know, instead of posting it as a question.

    And we're not referring to "dumping" when for the sake of competition in advertising, PR stunts or to enforce and protect one's IP. We're referring to the likes of Epic and Spotify crying to some government regulatory board on how much money Apple is "undeservingly" making off them or blaming any of their short comings on Apple business practices.

    I don't recall Apple ever dumping on Microsoft when the EU found them guilty of anti-trust by tying IE to Windows. Nor bitched about to the EU Commission when Microsoft was not doing enough to unbundle IE. I don't recall Apple dumping on Microsoft when Microsoft was fined over $800M for non compliance of allowing Windows customers to easily select their default browser of choice and took years to pay while appealing the fine.

    I don't recall Apple dumping on Microsoft when the US found them guilty of abusing their Windows monopoly and supported recommendation that Microsoft should be broken up.

    Has Apple ever blamed their low computer market share on Microsoft abusing their Windows monopoly, to some government regulatory board? Has Apple ever blamed Microsoft for Safari low market share on Windows PC on some anti-competitive practice by Microsoft, to some government regulatory board? When Microsoft bought out Bungie and stopped the much anticipated release (for Mac users) of Halo on Macs and made it an exclusive on the Xbox, did Apple go crying to some government regulatory board about how Microsoft is abusing their monopoly? Did Apple go crying to some government regulatory board when they were losing a tens of millions of dollars every quarter because of low Mac sales, while Microsoft was still profiting from Office for Mac? Has Apple ever filed an anti-trust or unfair competition lawsuit against Microsoft Windows monopoly? Now there have been dozens of anti-trust lawsuits against Microsoft by other companies over the years and I don't ever recall Apple trying to capitalize or profit from any of them. Though they might have supported some of the companies filing lawsuits against Microsoft.

    But really, if you actually know of any cases where Apple dumped on Microsoft to a government regulatory board, like how Epic and Spotify are dumping on Apple to the EU Commission, I would think many here would appreciate it if you can provide a link. 

    But if you are really asking the question, then unless anyone here can provide a link, the answer might be .... no. 
    muthuk_vanalingamroundaboutnowwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,388member
    davidw said:
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    Apple has never dumped on Microsoft?

    Are you asking because you don't know?

    Or are you putting it in a form of a question to make it seem that you do know the Apple has dumped on Microsoft and making it seem obvious?

    If you have have instances of Apple dumping on Microsoft, then I would think many here would like to know what you know, instead of posting it as a question.
    I find a few hits if searching "Apple blames Microsoft". The most recent has Apple claiming that it's really Microsoft behind the Epic shenanigans
    edited March 15 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 17
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,101member
    gatorguy said:
    davidw said:
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    Apple has never dumped on Microsoft?

    Are you asking because you don't know?

    Or are you putting it in a form of a question to make it seem that you do know the Apple has dumped on Microsoft and making it seem obvious?

    If you have have instances of Apple dumping on Microsoft, then I would think many here would like to know what you know, instead of posting it as a question.
    I find a few hits if searching "Apple blames Microsoft". The most recent has Apple claiming that it's really Microsoft behind the Epic shenanigans

    Apples approach will Surgical and it will be as painful to Sweeney Todd as dumping Intel or a haircut from his as crazy fictional namesake even if it takes 13 years.
    edited March 15 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,013member
    Separately, Epic Games is continuing to press the European Union over Apple. In that case, its criticisms concern what it alleges is Apple's "malicious compliance" in only technically following the laws of the Digital Markets Act.

    If you’re “technically” following the law, are you not acting legally?
    Exactly.  There is no such thing as “malicious compliance” (in the sense meant here).  You either are compliant or not compliant.   Change the criteria if you think that compliance is not enough.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,013member
    gatorguy said:
    davidw said:
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    Apple has never dumped on Microsoft?

    Are you asking because you don't know?

    Or are you putting it in a form of a question to make it seem that you do know the Apple has dumped on Microsoft and making it seem obvious?

    If you have have instances of Apple dumping on Microsoft, then I would think many here would like to know what you know, instead of posting it as a question.
    I find a few hits if searching "Apple blames Microsoft". The most recent has Apple claiming that it's really Microsoft behind the Epic shenanigans
    Which has nothing to do with the question.   “dump on” was defined as making a complaint to a regulatory agency or in court blaming their woes on that company. 

    Apple’s case against Qualcomm might be one to be further looked at.  I don’t remember the details.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,388member
    chadbag said:
    gatorguy said:
    davidw said:
    For all the damage ($$$) Sweeny has caused Apple, they should publicly declare to everyone that Epic is never going to be on Apple devices! Apple, unlike nearly every vindictive company, has never to my recollection ever dumped on them……or anyone. "Them" being Epic, Spotify, X, Microsoft, Samsung………and the list goes on. In the cases of Epic and Spotify, these companies wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are had it not been for Apple. 
    Apple has never dumped on Microsoft?

    Are you asking because you don't know?

    Or are you putting it in a form of a question to make it seem that you do know the Apple has dumped on Microsoft and making it seem obvious?

    If you have have instances of Apple dumping on Microsoft, then I would think many here would like to know what you know, instead of posting it as a question.
    I find a few hits if searching "Apple blames Microsoft". The most recent has Apple claiming that it's really Microsoft behind the Epic shenanigans
    Which has nothing to do with the question.   “dump on” was defined as making a complaint to a regulatory agency or in court blaming their woes on that company.
    That claim was made in court. 
    ttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-20/apple-accuses-microsoft-of-using-epic-as-proxy-in-legal-attack?embedded-checkout=true
    edited March 15
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