Apple will not have to implement changes to its in-app purchase system and App Store guidelines as ordered by the judge’s ruling in its court battle with Epic Games. While Apple largely won that case, as the court ruled Apple was not acting as a monopolist — the company had been ordered to stop preventing app developers from adding links that pointed users to other means of paying for their in-app purchases outside the App Store. Both Apple and Epic appealed the original ruling — Epic because it was not successful with its larger claims, and Apple because it disagreed with this aspect of the ruling over in-app purchases. Apple originally had until December 9 to update its App Store policies, but had asked the court for a stay on the injunction regarding the changes to its in-app purchasing guidelines until the appeal was decided.
The appeals court has now granted Apple more time before the injunction goes into effect. That means developers will have to continue to use the existing in-app purchase system Apple provides. They won’t be allowed to link to or steer users to their own websites for payments from inside their apps.
In a document filed today in the U.S. Court of Appels for the Ninth Circuit (see below), the court decided Apple had demonstrated “at minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the district court’s determination that Epic Games Inc. failed to show Apple’s conduct violated any antitrust laws but did show that the same conduct violated California’s Unfair Competition Law.”
The court additionally ruled that Apple has made a “sufficient showing of irreparable harm,” and so it granted Apple’s motion to stay part of the permanent injunction.
The stay will remain in effect until the appeals case is heard, the filing said.
Apple had tried before to argue its case for a stay and the court denied the motion. Its latest attempt was granted, after it changed tactics, arguing, among other things, that it would have to come up with a whole new system to commission purchases that took place outside the App Store.
Epic Games declined to comment on the court’s decision.
An Apple spokesperson, however, shared the following statement:
We’re constantly evolving the App Store to help create an even better experience for our users and the incredibly talented community of iOS developers. Our concern is that these changes would have created new privacy and security risks, and disrupted the user experience customers love about the App Store. We want to thank the court for granting this stay while the appeals process continues.