In a ruling by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, basically she rejected Epic’s notion that Apple is considered a monopolist under federal or state antitrust laws. It sounds like a win for Apple, doesn’t it? However, Judge Rogers also noted that the trial did show that Apple did engage in anti-competitive conduct under California’s competition laws.
She also issued a permanent injunction that states that Apple is, “permanently restrained and enjoined from 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 addition to In-App Purchasing and communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.”
Basically, Apple will now have to allow developers to include information that would let them communicate to users that there are alternative methods of payment. In a way, Apple was already planning on doing that to settle an investigation in Japan, so this doesn’t really change anything.
While it doesn’t look like either side got what they really wanted, Apple seems to chalk this up as a victory. An Apple rep was quoted as saying, “Today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law. Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. We remain committed to ensuring the App Store is a safe and trusted marketplace.”
Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney took a different outlook on the ruling, where he said on Twitter, “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”