Today, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers made a ruling in the Epic Games vs Apple case, which while favoriting Apple in nine out of ten counts, there was a win for developers using the company’s platform.
The ruling in favor of developers states that Apple will have to open up payment options for software sellers on the App Store. This means that Apple can no longer keep developers from using direct-buy options within their apps (thanks, Ars Technica).
Apple also cannot stop app-makers from communicating with customers regarding app purchases such as through an email newsletter. The judge gave Apple 90 days from today, September 10, to comply with the ruling, meaning it has until December to make the changes.
As far as another count brought against Apple by Epic, the judge ruled against the allegation of antitrust behavior on Apple's part. According to the ruling, the App Store is not in violation of any antitrust laws.
One of Epic’s main complaints against Apple and its App Store was that the company had a monopoly on payment options, and it also accused Apple of breach of contract.
The court found that Apple was not in breach of contract, and now Epic must pay damages to Apple that make up for the 30% cut of Fortnite in-app purchases that would have been paid to Apple when Epic inserted its own payment model for three months in 2020. Basically, Epic now owes Apple $3.65 million, plus damages.
Epic could appeal the ruling against it, but the company has yet to state - as of press time - whether it will or not.
The ruling also found Apple was justified in removing Fortnite from the App Store, and if it sees fit, Apple can keep Epic Games-developed games off its store permanently.
In response to the ruling, Epic’s Tim Sweeney stated the ruling “isn't a win for developers or for consumers,” as Epic is fighting for “fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion 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 consumers," said Sweeney. "Like Apple’s attempt to retaliate against all Unreal Engine customers, their refusal to restore Epic’s Fortnite developer account is vindicative and nonsensical. We’re fighting Apple over their iOS terms, but this ban blocks Fortnite from Mac too. Nobody’s arguing about Mac."
"Mac is a highly secure open platform, like iOS should be. Mac users are free to install software from third-party sources like Steam and Epic Games Store, as iOS users should be. Apple holding Mac users hostage to an iOS dispute is petty and ridiculous."
He also mentioned how Apple won’t let Epic bring Fortnite back to South Korea’s App Store due to new legislation in the country that will require platforms like Apple and Google to permit alternative IAP systems (thanks, The Verge).
Sweeney said Epic has asked Apple to reinstate its Fortnite developer account so it can launch the game in South Korea.
You can read the entire 185-page ruling here if you feel up to it.