Apple filed an appeal against the Epic trial ruling. With control of the App Store and potentially billions of dollars at stake, Apple is suing Epic. Apple won the case in large part (the company even called it a victory). Judge Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple in nine out of ten claims Epic made against it. However, Apple did lose one crucial way. The judge found that Apple had violated California's anti-steering rules and demanded that Apple allow developers to connect to other payment systems. This policy would have been in effect until December but may be extended beyond that.
Apple has asked for a stay in order to stop the company from having the anti-steering rules implemented. It argues that this will protect Apple's platform and consumers while it works through complex legal, technological and economic issues.
Apple claims the anti-steering rule is unnecessary, stating that it had already agreed to remove the section infringing its App Store Guidelines. However, that's not news to us. At the time, Apple agreed to clarify that only app developers could communicate with consenting customers and not link to outside payment system. This clarification was widely viewed by developers as a red herring. Apple did not say at the time that it would delete a section from its App Store Guidelines.
Apple seems to be genuinely concerned that the court order will force them to open the App Store to alternative payment methods, contrary to what some Apple pundits claim. It could be that a button is actually a button.
There are risks associated with links and buttons that lead to alternative payment methods. Users who click on payment links embedded in apps, especially those distributed through the curated App store, will expect to be directed to a website where they can securely enter their payment information, email address or other personal details.
Apple continues to claim that if Apple forced app developers to connect to external payment system, it would not be able protect users against fraud.
Apple can review the links included in the submitted version of the app, but developers have no rights to change the landing page or modify the content of the destination website. Apple does not currently have the ability to verify that a user clicked on an external link received the products or services she purchased. Apple already receives thousands of reports every day from users. Allowing links to external payment options will only increase the burden. The introduction of external payment options, especially without the ability to evaluate and test the security implications, will result in the same security concerns Apple fights with IAP more generally. This Court agreed that these security concerns were legitimate and procompetitive reasons for designing the App Store.
Apple's protection of App Store users is a subject for many questions. Apple added this feature last week to make it easy to report any App Store frauds.
The company even quotes a blog post by (and The Verges article about) Paddle. This would-be competitor to Apple's in-app payment system. It uses it to illustrate one potential threat to consumers. This is not because the developer has lower fees but because, contrary to Apple's strict privacy rules, he intends to give access to email addresses.
There are other arguments that can be raised, and you can find them in the attached document at the bottom. The company claims that the sudden implementation of this injunction would disrupt the delicate balance between customers and developers provided by the App store and irreparably damage both Apple and consumers.
Apple also cites Ohio v. AmEx as an example of how transaction platforms such as the App Store can encourage competition despite steering restrictions. However, AmEx does not double as a marketplace for software.
Apple has not yet filed an appeal. We don't know if the court will grant stay or appeal. Apple stated at the time that the decision was not finalized when it first came in September.
Epic, for its part, announced its intention to appeal the order of Judge Gonzalez Rogers. She also issued a permanent injunction against Apple. Epic was not happy.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney responded to the appeal. It's pretty much what you would expect.