A federal judge denied Apple’s attempt to delay the ruling in its case Epic Games case and said the firm was engaging in “antitrust conduct.” This is yet another indication from the judge that she is ready to come down hard on Apple if given the chance.
“In short, Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction, namely incipient antitrust conduct including supercompetitive commission rates resulting in extraordinarily high operating margins and which have not been correlated to the value of its intellectual property,” federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers wrote in the ruling. Apple’s motion, she said, was “fundamentally flawed.”
Judge Gonzalez-Rogers issued a split ruling in the Apple v. Epic case in early September, handing Epic a key victory: Apple was found to be violating California’s anticompetition laws and must allow developers to communicate with their own customers, she ruled, allowing them to bypass Apple’s heady App Store fees. But the judge couldn’t determine that Apple was a monopolist based on the evidence that Epic provided, which would have led to harsher penalties. It also found Epic guilty of breach of contract and fined it $3.5 million.
Apple declared the ruling “resounding victory,” but it then appealed the case in a calculated bid to delay it having to adhere to the ruling, which, among other things, requires it to allow mobile apps developers to communicate with their own customers. That delay has been denied.
“Apple has provided no credible reason for the court to believe that the injunction would cause the professed devastation,” the judge writes in her ruling. “Users can open browsers and retype links to the same effect; it is merely inconvenient, which then only works to the advantage of Apple.”
Apple can still seek a reversal of this ruling with a federal appeals court. And given its behavior so far, it’s safe to assume it will do so.