Judge Says Apple Has Until December 9 to Make App Store Change Letting Developers Link to Alternate Payment Methods

Following a virtual hearing earlier today, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has denied Apple's request to delay the implementation of a permanent injunction that will require Apple to make significant App Store changes.

app store blue banner epic 1
As part of the judgement in the Apple v. Epic lawsuit, Judge Gonzalez Rogers is requiring Apple to allow developers to add in-app links to outside websites, paving the way for alternate payment options that do not require developers to use the in-app purchase system.

In the original ruling, Apple was given 90 days to implement the changes. Apple in October filed a request asking for more time, and the Cupertino company ultimately wanted to wait to implement any new ‌App Store‌ features until all appeals in the Epic v. Apple lawsuit have concluded.

Apple's request was denied and judge is not providing Apple with any additional time to add the requested ‌App Store‌ functionality, so the changes will need to be made by December 9. Based on the wording of the initial ruling, Apple will be prohibited from restricting developers from including "in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms."

Judge Gonzalez Rogers' said that Apple wanted "an open-ended stay with no requirement that it make an effort to comply," and that there are "multiple avenues" for Apple to comply with the injunction while protecting users.

The Court can envision numerous avenues for Apple to comply with the injunction and yet take steps to protect users, to the extent that Apple genuinely believes that external links would create issues. The Court is not convinced, but nor is it here to micromanage. Consumers are quite used to linking from an app to a web browser. Other than, perhaps, needing time to establish Guidelines, Apple has provided no credible reason for the Court to believe that the injunction would cause the professed devastation. Links can be tested by App Review. Users can open browsers and retype links to the same effect; it is merely inconvenient, which then, only works to the advantage of Apple.

Gonzalez Rogers also said that app developers should be able to choose to use the in-app purchase system or another system. "Consumer information, transparency, and consumer choice is in the interest of the public," she wrote.

Apple attempted to argue that making changes to the ‌App Store‌ rules could "upset the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the ‌‌App Store‌‌," resulting in irreparable harm to Apple and consumers, but that argument was not successful. Apple was also not successful in its argument that it needed more time to work through "the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, and economic issues" that the required change would cause.

Apple told The Verge that it will appeal to the Ninth Circuit for a stay after being denied by Judge Gonzalez Rogers. "Apple believes no additional business changes should be required to take effect until all appeals in this case are resolved. We intend to ask the Ninth Circuit for a stay based on these circumstances," the spokesperson said.

Along with the request to stay the injunction, Apple in October filed an appeal against the ruling that is requiring it to change the ‌App Store‌ rules, but that appeal may not be able to play out before the December 9 deadline.

Top Rated Comments

dave420 Avatar
30 months ago
On this site people seem happy when rulings go against Apple.

Personally I am happy to have Apple handle payments for apps. I don’t want to have to turn over my credit card information to 20 different apps and be worried about data breaches all the time. Also I trust Apple more to refund me for issues than random developers.
Score: 114 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boss.king Avatar
30 months ago

On this site people seem happy when rulings go against Apple.

Personally I am happy to have Apple handle payments for apps. I don’t want to have to turn over my credit card information to 20 different apps and be worried about data breaches all the time. Also I trust Apple more to refund me for issues than random developers.
You can still use Apple's payment system. All this does is allow devs to give you another option.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chrjy Avatar
30 months ago
I'm not sure how I feel about all this. A part of me agrees but I don't like it when a company like Epic try and state that they are looking out for users when it's blatantly obvious they are only interested in their own bank balance.

Also, if I started something successful through hard work and innovation but was then told 'No, you can't do it that way, you must do it like this' then I'd probably be pretty fed up. I appreciate competition and all that but to be told you have to change something you created would be very frustrating.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boss.king Avatar
30 months ago

Are we a free country, or a communist chattel? Why is a judge dictating what a company can do with its own product?
Lol. Do you think free countries don't have laws?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
30 months ago
”With respect to the alleged need for clarification because, anecdotally, some developers may not understand the scope of the injunction, the parties themselves have not indicated any confusion. The Developer Agreement prohibits third party in-app purchasing systems other than Apple’s IAP. The Court did not enjoin that provision but rather enjoined the prohibition to communicate external alternatives and to allow links to those external sites.”

In other words, Apple does NOT have to allow in-app purchasing mechanisms - what Epic tried to do is NOT what the court says Apple has to allow.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sith_lord Avatar
30 months ago
I feel like people like to be closed minded when it comes to Apple and what Apple thinks is right. Remember this is nothing different then what you do on your Mac on the web. Paying for Amazon purchases, Netflix, Spotify, buying/ downloading apps on the web, paying bills online etc. This is literally the same thing. It’s like asking Apple to only allow the installation and payments of Apps on Macs exclusively through the App Store. I would switch off Mac in heart beat off Apple ever did that.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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