Apple Appeals Epic Games Ruling

Posted on October 11, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Apple with 15 Comments

Apple on Friday appealed the ruling in the Apple v. Epic Games case in what appears to be a bid to delay having to make the positive changes for app developers that the ruling requires.

“Apple asks the Court to suspend the requirements of its injunction until the appeals filed by both Epic and Apple have been resolved,” the Apple appeal reads. “The company understands and respects the Court’s concerns regarding communications between developers and consumers. Apple is carefully working through many complex issues across a global landscape, seeking to enhance information flow while protecting both the efficient functioning of the App Store and the security and privacy of Apple’s customers. Striking the right balance may solve the Court’s concerns making the injunction (and perhaps even Apple’s appeal itself) unnecessary. A stay is warranted in these circumstances.”

This requirement—that Apple allow developers to communicate with their own customers, something most would describe as “common sense”—is why I described the split ruling in this case as a big win for Epic. But Epic certainly didn’t see it that way, and Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers indicated to the firm that if it had just provided more evidence, perhaps Apple would be labeled as a monopolist and be forced to even more stringent behavioral changes and other oversights. And so Epic, too, has appealed.

Apple originally described the verdict as a “resounding victory,” so it may seem confusing that it would appeal that verdict until you understand the intent: If Apple didn’t do so, it would be forced to allow developers to communicate with their own customers before Epic’s appeal winds its way through the slow-moving court system. Instead, it is bald-facedly hoping to prevent that from happening while both appeals are considered, allowing it to continue its illegal business practices in the meantime.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Apple Appeals Epic Games Ruling”

  1. bettyblue

    "Instead, it is bald-facedly hoping to prevent that from happening while both appeals are considered, allowing it to continue its illegal business practices in the meantime."

    Apple, just like all other public traded companies are a "for profit" business. They are using the legal system as it is today just like any other company would. I mean the crazy appeals that both Amazon and Microsoft make for the military contracts do nothing but delay the modernization of our defense department, which is just a tad more important than the gaming industry....but its all within the scope of the law.

    I am all for tort reform (and term limits) but until the system is changed I would use the system as well if I was running a business.

    • bettyblue

      Wow you modified my post!!!! Why not just delete it? I mean we can even modify our own posts with this new comment section.

      Yeah I am done with this site. Best of luck.

  2. Greg Green

    Big win for epic? They had to pay money due, $12m to apple, lost something like nine out of ten counts, and are still locked out of apple devices. And didn’t prove apple is a monopoly.

    sweeney even tweeted “Today: Lost a court case…”

  3. Brett Barbier

    The thing about the ruling is the judge said Apple is still entitled to license that intellectual property for a fee of some sort, and requiring developers to use Apple’s payment system “accomplishes this goal in the easiest and most direct manner.”

    So, assuming that Apple loses this appeal, Apple is still entitled to collect fees from developers, even from developers that opt out of the built-in IAP functionality.

    My guess is Apple will release an updated set of APIs surrounding payments. Developers who want to opt out of the IAP system can use these new APIs to securely collect payments, but Apple will require that these developers pay some percentage of their iOS sales to Apple (monthly, quarterly, or annually, I'm guessing). The new APIs will include required features related to security, privacy, refund policies, and details for auditing, and this will provide the needed transaction data to the developers' Apple accounts so that the developers will readily know how much they owe Apple (and let Apple know the same information).

    Developers wishing to bypass paying Apple completely can, of course, do what they can do now - sell things on their own website (like Netflix does) and then just have a free iOS app that their customers can log into.

    Here's another thing Apple could do - change the price of a developer account (currently $99) to a sliding scale - developers with annual revenue below a certain amount would remain $99, but then as revenue grows, the fee increases.

  4. Brett Barbier

    Here's another quote from the judge's ruling:

    “Indeed, to the extent Epic Games suggests that Apple receive nothing from in-app purchases made on its platform, such a remedy is inconsistent with prevailing intellectual property law.”

  5. pecosbob04

    "Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers indicated to the firm that if it had just provided more evidence perhaps Apple would be labeled as a monopolist " As has been mentioned before; the appeals process is based on the RECORD established by the trial court. Introducing NEW evidence at that point can only happen in certain very specific circumstances. "I forgot" iirc is not one of those circumstances. Now admittedly I havent read the ruling but the Judges quote above, assuming that's what it is, sounds more like a bit of snarky dicta commenting on the skill of the EPIC litigation team.

  6. ebraiter

    Father: "Cindy. What do you want to do when you grow up?

    Cindy: "I want to work at Apple because of the iGadgets and to be a lawyer there because I know it is a permanent job because of all the lawsuits."

  7. polloloco51

    Apple has enough money, to start up their own country! They should've left the ruling as it stands, and just move on. Respect the hard work of developers and stop raking in cash like it's leaves!

    The most greediest, and fantastical company, ever!

    • Greg Green

      Not really. Since epic appealed apple is appealing for a stay of judgement until the appeal is resolved. That seems sensible. Why change the store, then have the appeals court rule differently, either more or less change, forcing apple to change the store again. Apple is showing more concern for their customers than epic is theirs.

  8. nbplopes

    Hi. In my opinion there is a fair amount of confusion on this topic … a confusion that in my view is steered by Apple narrative. The narrative is so powerful that confuses everyone, even its contenders … I guess.

    Apple is entitled to be payed by their tech. There is not doubt about that. The idea that anyone would use their intellectual property for free by state “decrete” is absurd. Totally absurd.

    Yet, the Apple IP sales framework does indeed present some Anti Trust challenges that should be carefully looked at … and indeed are all over the globe.

    If we look at the latest Apple iPhone conferences, what did we see being sold to end-users? Smartphone designs and speed, 120hz displays, video capabilities, camera systems for amazing photographs, smart watches with the latest sensors, remote gym classes, Grammy nominated series with Apple TV+ … All this inviting users to buy them devices. As in any sales pitch they end up showing the price customers pay … This is all good.

    On top Apple wants to be a one stop shop for all digital assets and service … from payment and banking to the teacher selling math lessons as well as medical care … fee based contactless payment (Apple Pay), fee based sales of any and all digital assets (books, videos, games, photos, whatever), fee bases digital services subscriptions (video conferencing, email, whatever) … Again this is all good.

    So what’s the problem IMHO? Where is the Anti Trust challenge being presented? For me is deeply engrained in the adopted sales framework.

    In my view there are two properties. One is the Intelectual Property and the other is the Material Property. As tech gets into our lives, the concept of material property is systematic being attacked by big tech in favor of intellectual property … In my view in abusive ways. Apple being again in my opinion the ULTIMATE ABUSER!

    If we go back to my first phrase we can clearly see what is Apple sales pitch to the consumer. Yet it totally clouds the fact that by buying their device you have little rights over it but selling it to some one else.

    On one hand the device users is no longer able to choose which financial system to use to say pay groceries with your phone … need to use Apple’s, Apple Pay. Users are no longer able to choose which seller buy digital goods and services from … in other words with whom you end up doing the final financial transaction … the flow of customers money.

    On the other hand, apps are devices. Business are required to embed in their IP and in their material properties (apps) a device (in app payment device) that basically devoid them of property. If a business build something to sell and than a third party controls how and when it is sold in a realm … in this realm the business rights both over their IP and the material properties created are greatly diminished to the point of being taken away … How? By fully controlling also the users material property, the device.

    The entire system is built to leverage Apple IP and squash any notions of material property. Both for device owners and digital service owners.

    This is IMHO the abuse.

    The judges ruling tries to balance the concepts of Material Property and IP by allowing third party in app payment systems. Even though its a positive move to restore some balance … it fails to fully address the total erosion of material property rights within this ecossystem. Why? Because Apple is still able to veto what can users use and not use on their material property, the smartphone for one. Apple is still able to veto users ability to use their smartphone to pay for “groceries”. Finally businesses are still required to introduce in their material properties a payment system that they might otherwise not.

  9. Brett Barbier

    Apple doesn't prevent me from buying groceries with my iPhone without Apple Pay. Check out a small grocery store named Walmart for how they allow customers to use "Walmart Pay" from iPhones.

    The judge's ruling does NOT make Apple allow 3rd party IAP.

  10. richfrantz

    I'm no lawyer, but once a company goes public, isn't their entire reason for being the shareholders? Right and wrong, good and bad no longer come into play. The lawyers have to fight and stonewall anything that has the potential to reduce the bottom line.

    "public good" is the domain of the government and our personal responsibility.

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