The judge in the Apple vs. Epic trial largely sided for the tech giant. However, she ruled that developers must be able to direct users to other payment methods within their apps. The judge initially ruled that any changes Apple must make to the App Store rules in order to allow for this must take effect by December 9. Apple now has filed a notice to appeal (PDF via CNBC), asking for a stay of the injunction. This could prevent developers from offering alternative payment methods for one year.
Apple argued in its appeal that it had already taken "concrete, specific steps" in the direction of the Court's opinion, including agreeing to remove the ban on targeted out-of app communications. Apple argued that it would be a poor use to its resources to force it to comply due to Epic's "near-inevitable litigation" regarding its compliance. It stated that there was no reason to spend resources and added that a stay would preserve the status quo as the appellate process proceeds.
Apple's senior director for App Review, Trystan Kosmynka also spoke out:
"At a high-level, I believe that this change will be detrimental to users, developers and the iOS platform overall, unless thoughtful restrictions are in place to protect consumers, producers, and developers."
The company would make a significant shift allowing developers to add links in-app to external payment options. Epic originally pulled Fortnite from its App Store. Epic offered discounts and freebies to buyers who purchased directly from Epic. The tech giant also removed Epic's developer tools within a short time. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney had a conversation with the other parties in September. The tech giant stated that Fortnite would not be allowed in the App Store until all court appeals have been exhausted. This process could take up to five years.
CNBC has previously reported that the App Store's gross sales were approximately $64 billion in 2020. Apple takes a 30% cut on app purchases. However, Apple recently reduced that to 15% for apps earning less than $1million per year. Apple could lose billions if it doesn't give developers the ability to accept other payment methods. Bloomberg points out that the judge who issued the injunction did not specifically state that developers can't be charged a commission for any payments made outside of the App Store. It remains to be seen if Apple will ask developers for a cut, but it would be a complicated undertaking if it does.
Apple requested to stop the injunction at a hearing on November 16th. However, Apple is looking to move the proceeding to November 2.