In September, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple must allow iOS developers to direct users to external content purchase mechanisms outside of the App Store’s built-in in-app purchases. Tuesday night, Rogers denied Apple’s motion to stay that judgment, paving the way for it to go into effect on December 9th, pending another appeal.
a blunt four-sided judgment
, Judge Rogers said Apple’s motion for suspension, filed last month, was “fundamentally flawed” and “is based on a selective reading of that court’s findings and ignores any findings in support of the injunction, namely incipient antitrust conduct, including the resulting over-competitive commission rates “. in exceptionally high operating margins and which are not correlated with the value of its intellectual property. ”
Apple’s anti-steering regulations, which prevent app makers from informing users of alternative payment methods in the apps themselves, “are one of the most important regulations that have allowed Apple to successfully charge non-competitive commissions that are not related to its intellectual property are, “said Judge Rogers writes. These regulations depress Epic’s license fees for Unreal Engine specifically and “in the industry in general,” she continues.
Judge Rogers also dismissed Apple’s argument as “exaggerated” that allowing links and “metabuttons” for alternative payments would lead to “irreparable harm … in the form of a loss of trust and integrity in the iOS ecosystem”. Rogers cites other exceptions such as the reader rule and crossplay to show that “alternatives outside the app can be considered”.
“The court can imagine numerous ways for Apple to comply with the injunction and still take steps to protect users, if Apple really believes that external links would cause problems,” the ruling said. “Consumers are used to linking from an app to a web browser. Aside from the fact that it may take time to set guidelines, Apple has not given the court any credible reason to believe that the injunction would cause the alleged devastation. “
Rogers also rejected arguments that the ruling would require technical and policy changes that were “extremely complicated” and that it would be “permanent” [Apple] Months to figure out the technical, economic, business, and other issues, “as Apple attorney Mark Perry put it in his oral arguments. However, instead of demanding additional compliance deadlines in his motion, Judge Rogers found that Apple” had a open stay ends without making an effort to comply. Time is not an irreparable violation. “
According to Rogers’ original decision, purchases made directly in the iOS apps themselves must continue to use Apple’s in-app payment system, as stated in the Apple Developer Agreement. That gives Apple a distinct advantage, writes Rogers: “Apple still retains the convenience of IAP, and if it can keep up with pricing, developers can choose to take advantage of that convenience, including the assurance Apple gives to consumers offers that it offers a safer offer. ” or better choice. The fact remains: it should be your choice. Consumer information, transparency and consumer choice are in the public interest. “
Apple will likely take the opportunity to challenge the verdict in the Ninth District Court of Appeals before it goes into effect on December 9th. Prior to that date, Apple had already relaxed its “external payment link” rules for many non-gaming apps. The company also agreed to allow developers to email customers about external payment methods as part of the settlement of a separate class action lawsuit.
Rogers’s September decision separately confirmed Apple’s decision to Fourteen days from the iOS App Store and suspend Epic Games’ iOS developer accounts indefinitely. This part of the judgment remains in force even if Epic is going through its own appeal process.
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