Apple has chosen to appeal the verdict handed down by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Epic Games vs. Apple lawsuit back in September, and today filed a complaint to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The Cupertino company plans to appeal the ruling, which requires it to change its App Store rules to allow developers to add in-app links to external sites, which would pave the way for alternative payment options that do not require developers uses in-app purchasing system. While the appeal is pending, Apple has asked the court for a stay on the permanent injunction requiring it to implement these changes by December.
Apple is asking the court to suspend the claims in its injunction until the appeals from both Epic and Apple have been resolved. The company understands and respects the court’s concerns regarding communication between developers and consumers. Apple is working diligently on many complex issues across a global landscape, trying to improve the flow of information while working effectively both in the App Store and security and privacy for Apple customers. Finding the right balance can resolve the Court’s concerns, making the injunction (and perhaps even Apple’s appeal itself) unnecessary. A stay is justified in these circumstances.
In the original ruling, Rogers said Apple’s anti-governance rules banning links to external sites illegally prevent consumer choice. She forbade Apple to restrict developers from including “in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links or other calls to action that lead customers to purchasing mechanisms.”
At the time, she gave Apple 90 days to implement these changes, but Apple is asking to wait to make updates to the App Store rules until all appeals in the case are completed, which could take years as Epic Games has also appealed.
According to Apple, changes to the App Store rules may “disrupt the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the App Store”, which could result in irreparable harm to Apple and consumers. Apple says a stay will allow it to protect its platform while working through “the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological and economic issues that any revision of this policy would entail.”
In support of its appeal, Apple further stated that Epic Games hardly mentioned the anti-control claim during the trial and did not provide evidence that it was harmed by the special App Store rule. Apple claims that it is likely to succeed on appeal and that Epic will not suffer harm by staying on the injunction. Apple also said that it is working to “improve the flow of information” without affecting the consumer, and that there may be App Store changes that would eliminate the need for a permanent injunction at all.
The implementation of the order on 9 December could have unintended consequences downstream for consumers and the platform as a whole. Apple is working hard to solve these difficult problems in a changing world and is improving the flow of information without compromising the consumer. A postponement of the injunction would allow Apple to do so in a way that preserves the integrity of the ecosystem and that could avoid the need for any injunction regarding management.
The permanent injunction is currently scheduled to take effect on December 9, but if Apple wins, it will not have to make any changes by then. Rogers is ready to hear Apple’s case on November 16. The full text of Apple’s appeal can be read here.
The original lawsuit went largely in Apple’s favor, with the exception of the injunction against control, with Apple calling it a “resounding victory.” PEpic Games has appealed the ruling, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said the referee’s decision is “not a win-win for developers or consumers.”