Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers made her decision today in the Epic v. Apple case and it was a blockbuster 185-page ruling. The judge issued an injunction that prevents Apple from blocking developers from posting a link or communicating to consumers how they can make payments to other platforms outside of Apple’s system. In other words, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says that developers can point their customers to other in-app payment platforms and avoid Apple’s in-app payment system that takes as much as a 30% cut of in-app revenue.
Apple kicked the popular game Fortnite out of the App Store because its developer included a link to its own in-app payment platform
The judge wrote in her decision that “The Court concludes that Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice. When coupled with Apple’s incipient antitrust violations, these anti-steering provisions are anticompetitive and a nationwide remedy to eliminate those provisions is warranted.” On the other hand, she also said, “Given the trial record, the Court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney stated in a tweet that Epic “will fight on.” The executive added that “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to customers.”
Paul Swanson, a Denver-based antitrust lawyer at Holland & Hart LLP analyzed the results of the lawsuit stating that “Big Tech was watching this case because it addressed whether antitrust law will countenance successful walled gardens. While we got a bit of a mixed answer, I think the chief takeaway is that ‘success is not illegal’ and a walled garden like Apple’s, which competes with other facilitators of digital mobile gaming transactions, is not unlawful.”