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Apple is Appealing the Epic Games Ruling

Apple has filed for an appeal of the ruling in its major trial against Epic as potentially billions of dollars and some control over the App Store is at stake. While Apple largely won that case with Judge Gonzalez Rogers ruling in favor of Apple in nine of the ten claims Epic brought against the company. Apple went so far as to call the ruling a “resounding victory.”

However, Apple did lose in one important way: the judge found that Apple violated California’s anti-steering rules, and demanded that Apple let developers link to outside payment systems. That policy would have taken over in December, but it may be pushed out beyond that and it seems that’s the point.

As part of the appeal, Apple is asking for a stay to prevent the company from having to implement the new anti-steering rules, arguing that it “will allow Apple to protect consumers and safeguard its platform while the company works through the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, and economic issues.” And the company’s arguments there are pretty revealing if the document is right.

For instance, Apple claims that the new anti-steering rule is unnecessary because the company had already agreed to delete the offending section of its App Store Guidelines in the Cameron v. Apple settlement. That clarification was widely seen by developers as a red herring. At the time, Apple didn’t say anything about deleting a section of its App Store Guidelines entirely.

It also seems like Apple is genuinely afraid that the court order would force them to open up the App Store to alternate payment mechanisms, despite what some Apple pundits have claimed. Apple goes on to argue that if it were forced to allow app developers to link to external payment systems, it wouldn’t be able to protect users from fraud.

The company even cites a blog post from Paddle, a would-be rival to Apple’s in-app payments that emerged after the Epic v. Apple ruling, using it to illustrate one possible threat to consumers. Not because of its lower fees, of course, but because “In contrast to Apple’s strict rules surrounding privacy, that developer intends to provide access to user email addresses.”

Other arguments are raised as well, which you can read in full in the document embedded at the bottom of this post. Overall, the company says that the “precipitous implementation of this aspect of the injunction would upset the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the App Store, and would irreparably harm both Apple and consumers.”

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