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Apple/Epic trial judge sides against Apple, will force company into big changes

If it sticks on appeal, it will force Apple to drastically change how it makes money from the App Store.

Published onSeptember 10, 2021

Apple Logo 2 EOY 2020
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • A judge in the Apple/Epic Games trial issued a permanent injunction against Apple today.
  • The judge declares that Apple must allow alternative payment methods on the App Store.
  • This is a huge win for Epic Games, but also a big threat to Google, which is facing similar charges from Epic.

Today, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers issued a permanent injunction against Apple as part of the ongoing Apple/Epic Games legal battle. The injunction is a huge loss for Apple. If Apple can’t get it removed with an appeal, it would drastically change how the Apple App Store works.

The injunction, which you can read here (via The Verge), states that Apple must allow alternative payment systems for apps it hosts. One of the chief complaints of Epic Games is that Apple forces developers to use Apple’s own payment systems, which thus forces them to share 30% of all profits with Apple. Epic broke Apple’s rules by including an alternative payment system in its hugely popular game Fortnite. That pushed Apple to remove Fortnite from its stores and thus started this whole legal battle.

See also: Fortnite cross-platform guide

The judge’s injunction, though, makes it so Apple will need to allow Fortnite — and any other app or game — to use its own payment systems. Theoretically, this would mean Apple would make no money from a game like Fortnite, which is free to play but charges for in-app purchases.

Once again, Apple will very obviously appeal this injunction. As such, there’s a chance this won’t stick. If it does, though, it will have huge ramifications across the mobile industry.

The Apple/Epic trial isn’t just about Apple

Apple isn’t the only company in Epic’s crosshairs. Google has a very similar policy for the Google Play Store, including the same 30% cut of all payments. Fortnite is also currently not available on the Play Store, although unlike for iPhones it can easily be sideloaded or installed from third-party stores, such as the Galaxy Store.

If the judge’s injunction sticks, it is very likely that a similar ruling would land on Google. In effect, that would allow Fortnite to go back to the Play Store and Google wouldn’t make any money from in-app purchases made therein.

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