Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers today handed down her decision in the Apple vs. Epic legal case over the App Store. Judge Rogers ruled that Apple violates antitrust law with its anti-steering policies in the App Store, but that Apple is not a monopoly. Judge Rogers issued a permanent injunction saying that Apple can no longer forbid developers from directing users to third-party payment options.
While Epic Games has already announced that it plans to appeal the ruling, Apple is pleased with the outcome.
In a statement to the press, Apple general counsel and senior vice president Katherine Adams said that Judge Rogers’ decision should be viewed as a “huge win for Apple.” Adams underscored that Apple is “not a monopolist in any relevant market” based on today’s ruling, and that the decision “validated” the App Store business model.
Adams’ full statement follows:
We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling and we consider this a huge win for Apple. This decision validates that Apple’s “success is not illegal,” as the judge said. As the Court found “both Apple and third-party developers like Epic Games have symbiotically benefited from the ever-increasing innovation and growth in the iOS ecosystem.”
The Court has confirmed, after reviewing evidence from a 16-day trial, that Apple is not a monopolist in any relevant market and that its agreements with app developers are legal under the antitrust laws. Let me repeat that: the Court found that Apple is not a monopolist under “either federal or state antitrust laws.”
We are still analyzing the decision which is 180 pages long but the headline is that Apple’s App Store business model has been validated. The Court correctly rejected Epic’s “artificial” view of the competitive environment in which Apple operates and determined that “developers like Epic Games have benefited from Apple’s development and cultivation of the iOS ecosystem, including its devices and underlying software.” Underlying the App Store business is a framework, including App Review, curation and protection of the security and privacy of our users. The Court has ruled that this framework is lawful and Apple was justified in terminating Epic’s status as a developer on the App Store. Apple’s rigorous process for app review protects consumers. As the Court observed, “security and privacy have remained a competitive differentiator for Apple.” The Court agreed, and I quote, that “by providing these protections, Apple provides a safe and trusted user experience on iOS, which encourages both users and developers to transact freely and is mutually beneficial.” Importantly, the Court also recognized the value of Apple’s ever-increasing innovation and growth of the iOS ecosystem.
In short, this is a resounding victory and underscores the merit of our business both as an economic and competitive engine.
Apple also noted that the decision from Judge Rogers finds no issue with Apple’s App Store in-app purchase requirement and applies only to steering customers toward outside payment options.
As for whether or not it plans to appeal the ruling related to anti-steering, Apple said that it is considering all options and that it has yet to process the entire 185-page decision from Judge Rogers. As such, the company also said it is still considering the implementation of the changes and there are no App Store changes to announce today.
The ruling gives Apple 90 days to comply with the required changes.
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