In the contentious court battle between Apple and Epic Games, a federal judge on Friday ordered Apple to allow developers to use outside payment options, although refrained from calling the world’s most valuable company a monopoly.
According to US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, from the Northern District of California, Apple had violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by forcing Fortnite and its maker Epic Games to use Apple’s payment systems on the App Store, where the iPhone maker extracts a 30% commission on every in-app purchase in the process, according to Associated Press inputs.
She issued an injunction prohibiting Apple from requiring that developers use its own in-app payment system.
An appeal of the ruling by one or both companies seems likely.
The ruling will threaten the tech giant’s biggest moneymakers but will in turn potentially save app developers billions of dollars that could encourage them to lower the prices paid by consumers.
The challenge was mounted by Epic Games, best known as the maker of Fortnite, the popular video game played by about 400 million people worldwide.
The video game makers opined that the highly lucrative fee was a price-gouging tactic that wouldn’t be possible if competing stores were allowed to offer iPhone apps.
The 185-page ruling comes three months after the conclusion of a trial focused on one of the pillars holding up Apple’s $2 trillion empire — one that Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs began to shape 20 years ago.
Since the trial, Apple has taken two moves to relax parts of its app store rules: one to settle a lawsuit, and the other to please Japanese authorities without changing its commissions. Many applications will be able to encourage their users to pay for digital transactions in methods that do not trigger Apple’s fees as a result of these concessions.
Meanwhile, Apple shares dipped sharply immediately upon the issuance of the ruling and were trading down 3% Friday. Epic, based in Cary, North Carolina, is a private company.