The Epic vs. Apple case now has a ruling (pending any possible appeal) and Apple must open up its model to allow for third-party in-app purchases that allow for other payment options that bypass Apple’s own. This decision is set to go into effect on December 9th unless put on hold by any further decisions. As for Fortnite, Epic may seek to restore its presence in the App Store.
You will remember the case when Epic Games decided to provide users with ways to buy stuff outside of Apple’s App Store and payment methods, cutting out the fees that they’d otherwise pay to Apple from Fortnite players. Apple retaliated and removed Fortnite. Then, Epic launched this lawsuit with accusations of Apple having a monopoly and forcing third parties’ hands in being able to sell to their own player base without having to hand over a hefty cut (estimated at 30%) to Apple for just existing on its platform.
On the issue of running a monopoly, however, the judge in the case, Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers, explained that both sides had overstated the marketplace and Apple was not a monopoly under antitrust laws. She writes in her decision that, “The relevant market here is digital mobile gaming transactions, not gaming generally and not Apple’s own internal operating systems”. Thus, Apple does need to allow for third parties to at least provide alternate payment options that bypass Apple.
Apple also must open up its payments to third parties in a recent South Korean ruling, so Epic tried to get Fortnite back on iOS devices there under the new law. In a statement to Bloomberg before today’s ruling in the US case, Apple said it would refuse to restore Epic’s developer account. Now, after this new ruling there may be reason to believe that unless Apple appeals the ruling, things may show signs of shifting. While this is just one ruling, there is a similar case between Google and Epic where a decision is pending.