Apple’s Request to Delay App Store Changes in Fortnite-Epic Case Denied by US Judge

A US judge on Tuesday denied Apple’s efforts to suspend the orders issued by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games after antitrust proceedings.

The iPhone maker immediately said it would appeal the rejection to avert potentially significant changes to its lucrative app store before a Dec. 9 deadline to implement the court’s orders.

Epic was on trial earlier this year for forcing Apple developers to use its in-app payment system and pay commissions to the iPhone maker. In September, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a ruling that was largely favorable to Apple.

However, she expressed concern that Apple was keeping consumers in the dark about alternative payment methods and ordered that Apple lift the ban on in-app links, buttons and messages to users using other payment methods.

Apple has appealed the judge’s ruling, asking them to suspend their orders while the appeal process continues, which could take several years.

In a sharp reprimand to the iPhone maker, Gonzalez Rogers said Apple’s ban on informing consumers of other payment methods “is the beginning of antitrust behavior, including over-competitive commission rates, leading to exceptionally high operating margins” for its app store.

She wrote that Apple’s own in-app payment methods are still more convenient than third-party methods and that many consumers might still use them.

“The fact remains: it should be their choice,” wrote Gonzalez Rogers. “Consumer information, transparency and consumer choice are in the public interest.”

Apple said it would challenge Gonzalez Rogers’ denial in the US 9th District Court of Appeals, which could grant Apple a temporary stay before the Dec. 9 deadline.

“Apple believes that no further business changes should be required until all appeals in this case are resolved. We intend to seek a suspension from the Ninth District as a result of these circumstances,” Apple said in a statement.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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