Epic Games and Apple’s legal dispute leads to in-app purchase ban

A few months after the trial between Epic Games and Apple began, a ruling was filed, finding that Apple did not violate existing state-level antitrust laws in California or the federal government. The ruling does not change the way Apple operates its App Store, nor does it allow other markets to exist on Apple devices. However, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers has issued a permanent injunction against Apple, opening the door to how payments are processed in apps on iOS devices.

This is the relevant text in the ban statement. We will discuss its meaning later:

Apple Inc., its managers, agents, service personnel, employees, and anyone actively cooperating with or participating in them (“Apple”) hereby permanently restrict and prohibit developers (i) from using their apps and metadata buttons Inclusions, external links or other call-to-actions to direct customers to the purchase mechanism, as well as in-app purchases and (ii) communicating with customers through the contact information that customers voluntarily obtain through account registration in the application.

On the non-legal aspect, Apple will no longer prevent app developers from bypassing Apple’s services for in-app purchases. In fact, Apple does not charge transaction fees for any purchases made using services outside of its ecosystem. When the ban takes effect within 90 days, developers are free to add links to external payment providers of their choice. That date is December 9, Although if another conflicting legal order emerges, it may change.

Judge Gonzalez-Rogers’ complete ruling on the dispute has now been published. It is about 200 pages and can be read here. In short, Epic failed to prove that Apple has a monopoly in the gaming sector, so it did not slam the well-known gavel with the support of the creators of Fortnite. The ruling and subsequent payment ban will surely have a ripple effect across the industry, especially in other environments such as Google’s Android or console games.