Apple may have initially praised the ruling in the Epic case as “a resounding victory” and “huge win,” but on Friday it changed its tune, opting to appeal the decision. With Epic appealing as well, the whole process will start again, and it’s looking like it could be years before anything’s actually settled.
The main reason for the appeal is Apple’s violation of California’s anti-steering rules. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers found that Apple was in violation of the statute and ordered Apple to stop “prohibiting developers from including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms.” In short, Apple would have had to allow developers to offer their own payment service (or at the very least a prominent link to an outside store), which is what started the fight in the first place.
Additionally, Judge Rogers also found that Apple is not a monopolist under “either federal or state antitrust laws,” essentially validating the App Store’s business model, including Apple’s 30 percent fee. Consequently, it ordered Epic to pay a $6 million fine to cover Apple’s cut of the revenue Epic collected since August 2020, when Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store for violating its terms.
Epic is also appealing the case. CEO Tim Sweeney, who has been very vocal during the process, asked Apple to allow Fortnite back into the App Store and was quickly rebuffed. He reacted to the appeal on Twitter with a Fortnite pun.
As part of the appeal, Apple asked the court to “suspend the requirements of its injunction until the appeals…have been resolved.” Apple argues that implementing the terms of the injunction “could have unintended downstream consequences for consumers and the platform as a whole.” It says that a stay of the injunction would allow the company “to do so in a way that maintains the integrity of the ecosystem.”
Assuming the court grants the appeal, the case will essentially reset and will likely drag on for several more years.