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

After a virtual hearing, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denied Apple's request for delay in the implementation of a permanent order that will force Apple to make major App Store changes.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers has ordered Apple to allow developers to add links to external websites as part of the Apple v. Epic judgment. This will open the door to other payment options that don't require developers to use the app purchase system.

Apple was granted 90 days to make the changes in the original ruling. Apple filed an October request for additional time. The Cupertino company decided to delay the implementation of any new App Store features until all appeals have been resolved in Epic v. Apple.

Apple's request for an extension of time was denied by the judge. Apple will not be granted any additional time to add requested App Store functionality. The changes must be made before December 9. Apple will not be allowed to restrict developers from adding "in their apps, their metadata buttons, external hyperlinks, or any other calls to actions that direct customers towards purchasing mechanisms."

Judge Gonzalez Rogers stated that Apple desired "an open-ended stay without any requirement that it make an attempt to comply" and that Apple has "multiple avenues" to comply with the injunction, while protecting users.

The Court can see many avenues for Apple to comply to the injunction while still protecting users. This is provided that Apple does not believe that external links will cause problems. Although the Court isn't convinced, it is not here to micromanage. Consumers are used to linking an app to a browser. Apple has not provided any credible reason for the Court that the injunction will cause the devastation claimed. App Review can test links. App Review allows users to open different browsers to retype the same links. This is only for Apple's benefit.

Gonzalez Rogers stated that app developers should have the option to use an in-app purchasing system or another. She wrote that consumers should have access to information and transparency so they can make informed choices.

Apple tried to claim that the App Store rules would "upset the delicate balance between developers, customers provided by the App Shop," which could cause irreparable damage to Apple and consumers. However, that argument was unsuccessful. Apple's argument that the App Store rules needed to be updated was also unsuccessful. It claimed that the changes would create new legal, technological and economic problems that are complex and fast-changing.

The Verge was informed by Apple that it would appeal to the Ninth Circuit for a stay of Judge Gonzalez Rogers' denial. Apple believes that no further business changes should be made until the appeals in this matter are resolved. The spokesperson stated that they would ask the Ninth Circuit to grant a stay on the basis of these circumstances.

Apple also requested to suspend the injunction in October. However, Apple may not be able appeal the ruling that requires it to modify the App Store rules before the December 9 deadline.