Apple Faces Setback in App Store Battle with Epic Games

The US judge who instructed Apple to allow developers sell apps beyond the official app store has censured its way of responding as a solution to the lawsuit. Epic Games returned to court claiming that Apple did not fully comply with the antitrust injunction and comments by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers suggest that she is also included in this agreement.

The story so far

  • The court told Epic that Apple did not operate a monopoly
  • The court told Apple it must allow app sales outside the App Store
  • Both cases appealed the parts of the ruling they didn’t like
  • The US Supreme Court declined to hear either appeal
  • Epic Games introduced its own in-app payment system on iPhone
  • This bypassed the App Store, and denied Apple its 30% commission
  • This was a blatant breach of App Store terms & conditions
  • Apple responded by throwing the company off the App Store
  • The two companies went to court

Apple released a statement saying that it would allow the sale of third-party applications following the confirmation of Judge Rogers’ ruling by the court. Also, despite the fact they would be paying (excluding small developers who would pay 12%), it would put a 27% charge on them. Epic returned to court to argue this amounted to bad faith on Apple’s part, considering that Judge Rogers’ ruling which went contrary to its entire purpose.

Apple Faces Setback

The judge’s remarks suggest that she is on Epic’s side but it is not clear yet if Apple has fully obeyed with the order. This was recorded by Bloomberg.

[Apple’s] remedy for anti-competitive practices drew harsh criticism Friday from US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers […]

“It sounds to me as if the goal was to then maintain the business model and revenue you had in the past,” Rogers said to an Apple executive during a multi-day hearing to address Epic’s complaint that the iPhone maker isn’t abiding by the terms of a corrective order the judge issued in 2021.

Epic had argued that the cost to developers would be the same regardless of whether they sold through the App Store. While 1,000 of its staff and lawyers worked on the new terms, Apple would not claim to have carried out the calculation. There is a possibility that the judge was not convinced.

“You’re telling me a thousand people were involved and not one of them said maybe we should consider the cost” to the developers? the judge said. “Not a single person raised that issue, of the thousand that were involved?”

Apple also admitted that only 38 developers have swerved to the new terms out of the 65,000 developers who were eligible, with none of them being major names.