Apple must allow in-app purchases and Epic Games owes millions

A ruling was reached today in an Epic Games vs Apple court case and legal battle that effectively started back in August of 2020. Apple is likely to appeal the part of the decision that'd otherwise allow additional permissions for iOS app developers. For now, the ruling is that app developers will not be prohibited from adding purchasing mechanisms in their apps.

The ruling from the Epic Games vs Apple trial by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sets an injunction that'll require Apple to allow developers in the USA to include their own in-app payment systems through a variety of means. These include metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms.

This ruling also prohibits Apple from stopping developers from communicating with customers through "points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app." This was all due to the court finding that Apple engaged in "anticompetitive conduct under California's competition laws."

In all other counts, the court found in favor of Apple. The court could not conclude that Apple was a monopolist under federal or state antitrust laws. Judge Rogers ruling included the following: "While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct. Success is not illegal."

It was ruled by Judge Rogers that Epic Games will need to pay damages equal to 30% of revenue collected by the company via the Fortnite app on iOS through direct payment options. This ruling included the months between August and October 2020 (each of these being months when the app was available for iOS with said direct payment options), PLUS any more iOS-based profit from Fortnite collected between November 2020 and September 10, 2021, with interest.

In the three months mentioned, Epic Games reported revenue from iOS of $12,167,719 USD. Approximately 30% of that is $3,650,315 USD. It is likely that Epic Games will need to pay Apple an immense amount of cash, in any case. If you'd like to investigate this case further, head to the US District Court for the Northern District of California, or just tap in to the timeline of earlier investigations below.