Apple is expected to ask a judge to keep the order from going into effect. Either company can also appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In that court, a panel of three judges can review the decision, a process that can be lengthy. a year or more. After the ruling there, Apple or Epic can appeal to the Supreme Court.
The ruling allows both sides to claim partial victory. Apple now has a court ruling saying it does not have a monopoly in a key digital market, which has cut down on rivals’ efforts to claim that they are in violation of antitrust laws. However, Epic’s lawsuit could also force Apple to jailbreak its tight-lipped iPhone software to create an avenue for developers to evade their commissions.
Shares of Apple fell nearly 3% on the Nasdaq exchange after the ruling was announced.
“Today the court confirmed what we already knew: The App Store did not violate antitrust laws,” Apple said in a statement. “As the court recognized, ‘Success is not illegal.’ Apple faces stiff competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe that our customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world. “
The ruling upheld many of Apple’s App Store business principles, including that it could ban third-party iPhone app marketplaces and could continue to charge a 30% commission on many transactions. Epic has challenged those practices.
“It puts an economic question mark around the App Store, but at the same time, it asserts,” said Adam Kovacevich, a former Google lobbyist who now runs an Apple-sponsored tech policy group. business principles. .
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, say on Twitter that he wasn’t satisfied with the ruling because it didn’t go far enough in allowing companies to complete in-app transactions using their own payment systems, rather than having to direct customers to external websites. . He said Fortnite will not return to the App Store until such rules are in place.
“Today’s ruling is not a victory for developers or for consumers,” he said. “We will fight.”
Mr. Rubin, the antitrust attorney, said that Apple would be relieved to avoid being labeled a monopoly, but the judge’s ruling will most likely not help strengthen its position in other investigations because Antitrust cases may vary. He said Apple may also have to consider reducing its commissions now because it would be easier for developers to take customers elsewhere to make purchases.