Apple Wins Last-Minute Reprieve From App Store Changes While Fortnite Appeal Plays Out

Apple on Wednesday secured a reprieve from making major changes to its lucrative App Store while it appeals an antitrust lawsuit brought by Fortnite maker Epic Games.

In September, a US judge ordered Apple To change this app Store The rules, which prohibit developers from including links in buttons to external payment systems that charge a commission on sales, instead of using Apple’s own in-app payments. The prohibitory order was due to go into effect on Thursday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time (1:31 p.m.).

But with a little more than 12 hours left before the deadline, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Apple’s request to stay the order.

The appeals court order means Apple won’t have to make changes while it pursues a potentially years-long appeal. epic games decision, which was largely favorable iPhone Separate manufacturer from order to allow button for external payment methods. The lower court did not find that Apple violated any antitrust laws, but said the company broke California’s unfair competition law by not allowing developers to tell consumers about alternative ways to pay for software. Gave.

“Apple has at least demonstrated that its appeal raises serious questions about the merits of the District Court’s determination,” the 9th Circuit Court wrote on Wednesday.

Apple said that “our concern is that these changes may have created new privacy and security risks, and may have disrupted the user experience that customers love about the App Store.”

Epic declined to comment on Wednesday.

Joel Mitnick, a partner at Cadwalder, Wickersham & Taft, and former U.S. Federal Trade Commission litigation attorney, said the 9th Circuit’s ruling gave some “tea leaves to understand” how the appeal would ultimately go, but added that The court is “signifying a serious concern” that the lower court found that Apple violated California’s unfair competition laws, but not federal antitrust laws.

He said the 9th Circuit cited a previous case that held that conduct that does not violate antitrust laws cannot be grounds for a finding of unfairness under competition laws.

University of Chicago Law School professor Randall Picker said Wednesday’s decision is “clearly good news for Apple. The good news in the short term is that they are yet to implement changes to the App Store, and a sign that Apple is the ninth.” Can win in the circuit when the matter is thoroughly considered.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021