Judge orders Apple to allow external payment options for App Store by December 9th, denying stay

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Epic v. Apple says Apple must follow an order allowing developers to add buttons and links to external payment options. This is denying Epic's motion to stay. Her new order states that Apple's motion was based on a selective interpretation of Court's findings, and ignores all the findings that supported the injunction.
After a Tuesday hearing, Judge Gonzalez Rogers issued her orders. This was in regard to the antitrust case that Fortnite publisher Epic Games filed against Microsoft in 2020. It went to trial this past year. Apple claimed that it needed additional time to revise its anti-steering policies, which prohibit app developers from linking with payment methods other than the iOS App Store.

This will be the first time Apple allows live links to digital content in an app. It will take months to resolve the economic, technical, and business issues," stated Mark Perry, Apple attorney. It is extremely complicated. To protect children, developers, consumers and Apple, there must be guidelines and guardrails. They must be documented into guidelines that are easily understood and implemented.

Apple does not do anything unless it is forced"

Apple has mostly praised Judge Gonzalez Rogers' ruling in Epic. Rogers ruled that Apple had not violated antitrust law when it kicked Fortnite from the App Store. He also ruled that Epic didn't need to rescind Epic's developer account. It appealed the section, claiming that Apple's antisteering policies concealed relevant information from users, and demanding that it be removed.

Perry pointed out that Apple had already made one of these changes. It removed a restriction on developers being able to contact users via email in August as part of a settlement for a class action lawsuit. Apple has described in-app links, which could allow developers to scam users or redirect them to malicious websites, as a threat to user safety and trust. We believe these changes will cause disruption to the platform if Apple has to make them. They will be harmful to consumers. They will also harm developers. This is a fact. Perry said that it was going to happen.

Epic presented Apple's request to delay without making any commitment to change. Gary Bornstein, Epic attorney, stated that Apple does not do anything unless it is forced.

"You haven’t asked for more time."

Judge Gonzalez Rogers was skeptical about Apple's request, especially because it requested an indefinite stay of injunction, despite Apple stating that it only wanted more time to assess risks. "You haven’t asked for more time. She said that you asked for an injunction, which could effectively take many years. "You requested an injunction that would cover all aspects of the case, which could take 3, 4, 5, years." Perry replied that Apple wanted to hold off on the changes until the case was settled. He said that Apple was confident that "we're going win the appeal".

Judge didn't change her mind: Tuesday night's order stated that Apple wanted "an open-ended stay without any requirement that it make any efforts to comply" and that Apple had not provided "any credible reason for Court to believe that injunction will cause the professed destruction." This was in reference to Apple's claim that adding links to alternative payment systems to apps would harm it.

Apple has indicated that it will appeal to the Ninth Circuit to request a stay since Judge Gonzalez Rogers did not grant one. Apple believes that no further business changes should be made until the appeals in this matter are resolved. An Apple spokesperson stated that they plan to request a stay from the Ninth Circuit based on these facts.

The injunction will take effect as long as there is a stay.