Apple on Friday asked a federal appeals court to overturn a court ruling that would force the tech giant to change its strict app store rules and force it to allow app developers to notify customers ways to pay for subscriptions and services outside of the App Store.
The September verdict follows a year-long legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the creator of the Fortnite game. Apple also asked a judge to delay the decision imposing changes on the App Store until the appeal is heard.
Changing its rules too quickly, Apple argued, “would upset the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the App Store, and irreparably harm both Apple and consumers.”
Epic declined to comment on Apple’s action on Friday.
At the heart of the business struggle is the power that Apple wields over its lucrative App Store. The App Store generates $ 20 billion a year, by some estimates, and its business model requires developers who distribute their apps on iPhone to pay Apple up to 30% of their sales.
Calling unfair fees and other app store rules, Epic accused Apple of anti-competitive behavior and sued the tech giant in May, but judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California , ruled that Apple did not have a monopoly on the mobile games market.
Still, Judge Gonzalez Rogers said Apple violated California’s unfair competition laws by prohibiting app developers from directing their customers to payment services outside of the App Store.
Under long-standing App Store rules, companies were not allowed to tell people who used their apps that they could visit those companies’ websites or other locations to pay for services. The judge gave Apple 90 days to change its rules and allow developers to start advertising alternative payment methods.
Apple on Friday asked the judge to review its request, known as a stay of injunction, on November 2, hoping it would be given a delay until the appeal process at the Court of Appeals of the United States. United States for the ninth circuit, in San Francisco. , is finished. The company said it could take at least a year.
Epic, also unhappy with aspects of the judge’s ruling, appealed the verdict shortly after it was delivered.
The question remains as to what Apple would be forced to change if the injunction was upheld. Some have speculated that developers could go so far as to offer their own competing payment methods within the App Store, but Apple said on Friday it “didn’t agree with this broad interpretation.” of the judge’s decision.
The company said it had already done some of what Judge Gonzalez Rogers wanted by agreeing to a settlement in August to allow developers to use email and other methods to communicate with their customers. customers on alternative payment methods.
The legal battle began in August last year when Epic attempted to steer Fortnite players to Apple’s payment methods, prompting Apple to start Fortnite from the App Store. Epic filed a lawsuit and the two companies met in May at a courthouse in Oakland, California. Apple recently rejected Epic’s request to reinstate its developer account and return Fortnite to the App Store.
The dispute has been followed with keen interest by the tech industry, as Apple faces charges of anti-competitive practices and calls for regulation around the world, from Japan and South Korea to the European Union and Congress.