Apple hopes to start a legal battle with Epic Games again.
On Friday night, Apple announced that it would suspend the execution of the judge’s September order, which stated that Apple must allow applications to direct customers to external websites. The ruling will allow app companies to circumvent Apple’s request to promote payments only within the app, and Apple can cut it by up to 30%. Apple is also appealing the ruling.
Since Epic Games is still appealing the 9 lost allegations, the case may take several years to resolve, and Apple was forced to make any changes to the iPhone’s operating system, iOS, due to the appeal process of the two companies in court Arguing.
The judge is expected to make a ruling on Apple’s suspension application next month.
On Friday, May 21, 2021, after a break in the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook walked back to court wearing a protective mask.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Compared with the tone after the decision was made in September, Apple’s move is surprising. Although the company always retains the possibility of appeal, it described the judge’s ruling as a resounding legal victory for its App Store business model, which has been criticized by technology competitors, international regulators and members of the United States Congress.
“We are very satisfied with the court’s ruling, and we think this is a huge victory for Apple,” Apple’s lawyer Kate Adams said in September after the ruling.
Friday night’s announcement sparked a lot of comments from Apple critics. They pointed out that this move will protect the profits of the Apple App Store by preventing apps from using alternative payment systems. A company announced last week that it is already developing a cheaper, web-based alternative to Apple app payments-a move that is only possible with a ruling that Apple is now appealing. Apple did not disclose the profit margin of the App Store, but it did generate approximately $64 billion in total sales in 2020.
Apple said it is now appealing because it faces a legal deadline this month. If Apple does not appeal now, it will lose its option forever, and it can change its mind at any time and withdraw the appeal. Apple also sees its appeal as a way to postpone hasty commercial decisions before the case is fully closed. The judge’s current order requires Apple to allow apps to link to the Internet in December.
If the judge approves Apple to continue executing the order next month, the status quo will remain unchanged until Epic Games and Apple resolve their issues. This may take years and help Apple resist more forced changes to its App Store model.
But at the same time, Apple’s App Store also faces many other external legal threats. For example, a bipartisan bill in the Senate would force Apple to accept alternative in-app payments. In addition, Apple has been forced to comply with Japanese regulatory decisions to allow certain applications to link to websites. (The Japanese command does not apply to games. Most people think this is where Apple gets the most profit in the App Store.)
Apple may initially consider the Epic Games ruling as a victory, but its appeal indicated that it will protect its lucrative App Store model until the end.
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