Breaking Friday, a judge ruled that the giant tech company Apple has engaged in anticompetitive conduct in its App Store. The ruling comes from a lawsuit filed by game developers claiming Apple was acting as an illegal monopolist.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Apple’s policy which prevents app developers from linking to third-party payment systems within their apps was indeed anticompetitive. The ruling will force Apple to change its app store guidelines.
The court did however, rule in favor of Apple on other allegations such as determining the company was not illegally maintaining a monopoly. “While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct” wrote Judge Rogers who added “success is not illegal.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reports Epic Games, the developer of the well-known video game Fortnite, “sued Apple in August of 2020, alleging the company illegally maintained a monopoly in the iOS app distribution and payment markets. The developer filed the complaint following Apple banning Fortnite from its app store after the game implemented its own payment.”
Apple’s current policy required app developers to use its billing system for all in-app purchases and subscriptions, allowing Apple to collect a commission of up to 30%. Apple also prevents developers from linking to any external payment methods, known as “anti-steering.”
Rogers wrote “the trial did show that Apple is engaging in anticompetitive conduct under California’s competition laws…The Court concludes that Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice.”
Epic Games and the company’s chief executive Tim Sweeney are disappointed that the court did not prevent Apple from requiring developers to use its payment system or in-app purchases.
“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” wrote Sweeney on Twitter.