Apple may not have to make court-mandated App Store changes for years, if ever

On appeals, Apple on Wednesday was granted a delay to court-mandated changes to its App Store throughout the appeals process, likely to take years, marking a sweeping victory in a legal battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games.

Apple may not have to make court-mandated App Store changes for years, if ever. Image: Epic Games' Fortnite
Epic Games’ Fortnite

Malathi Nayak and Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

A federal appeals court on Wednesday granted Apple’s request to halt a Dec. 9 deadline to comply with the judge’s directive, which would allow app developers to steer customers to payment methods outside the company’s store.

Apple, the world’s most-valuable technology company, has argued to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the changes ordered by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers “will harm customers, developers and Apple itself.” Now, the overhaul she ordered in September will be paused until Apple’s appeal is resolved, which could take at least a year.

Apple told the Ninth Circuit that it had already satisfied half of the judge’s order by changing its guidelines to allow “out-of-app communications” between all developers and users. The part of the order targeted in Apple’s stay request involves in-app advertising and links.

Apple is favored to win on appeal and a settlement is unlikely, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Rie said in a note. “On the merits, the law disfavors Epic’s market definition, and findings crediting Apple’s pro-competitive justifications will get deference on appeal,” she said.

MacDailyNews Take: Should Apple’s appeal somehow fail, developers like Epic Games who want to advertise lower prices using Apple’s App Store should simply be charged an in-store advertising fee by Apple via a new In-App Advertising framework. We suggest the charge be 15% of sales resulting from said ads for developers making under $1 million per year and 30% for those making $1 million or more annually (or exactly what Apple currently charges for in-app purchases/subscriptions). 🙂

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