Apple Inc was granted a reprieve on Wednesday for making major changes to its lucrative App Store as it appealed an antitrust lawsuit brought by the creator of “Fortnite” Epic Games.
In September, a US judge ordered Apple to change its App Store rules, which prohibit developers from including links in buttons to external payment systems rather than using Apple’s own in-app payments. who charge a commission on sales. The injunction was due to go into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. PT.
But with just over 12 hours remaining before the deadline, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Apple’s request to stay the order.
Appeals court order means Apple won’t have to make the changes as it pursues a potentially lengthy appeal of Epic Games’ decision, which was largely in favor of the iPhone maker outside of the order to authorize buttons to external payment methods. The lower court did not find Apple violated antitrust laws, but said the company violated California’s unfair competition law by not allowing developers to tell consumers about alternate ways to pay for. softwares.
“Apple has shown, at a minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions about the merits of the district court’s decision,” the 9th Circuit Court wrote on Wednesday.
Apple said that “our concern is that these changes have created new privacy and security risks, and are disrupting the user experience that customers enjoy in the App Store.”
Epic declined to comment on Wednesday.
Joel Mitnick, a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and former trial attorney for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, said the 9th Circuit ruling gave little “tea leaves to decipher” about how the the appeal would eventually proceed, but said the court “is signaling a serious concern” that the lower court ruled that Apple violated California’s unfair competition laws, but not federal antitrust laws.
He said the 9th Circuit cited an earlier case that conduct that does not violate antitrust laws cannot be the basis for a finding of unfairness under competition laws.
Randal Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, said Wednesday’s decision was “clearly good news for Apple. that Apple could win in the Ninth Circuit when the case is fully considered on the merits. “