A U.S. judge on Tuesday denied Apple’s efforts to suspend the order following an antitrust case brought by Fortnite creator Epic Games.
The iPhone maker immediately said it would appeal the denial, aiming to avoid potentially major changes to its lucrative App Store ahead of a Dec. 9 deadline to enforce a court order.
Earlier this year, Epic was tried for Apple’s practice of forcing developers to use its in-app payment system and paying iPhone makers a commission. In September, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a ruling largely in favor of Apple.
But she expressed concern that Apple was keeping consumers in the dark about alternative payment methods, and ordered Apple to lift its ban on in-app links, buttons and messages to users about alternative payment methods.
Apple has appealed the judge’s ruling, asking her to suspend her order while the appeal process is ongoing, which could take years.
Gonzalez Rogers slammed the iPhone maker, saying Apple’s ban on educating consumers about alternative payment methods showed its App Store’s “initial antitrust practices, including hypercompetitive commission rates, led to very high operating margins.”
Apple’s own in-app payment method is still more convenient than third-party methods, and many consumers may still choose to use it, she wrote.
“The fact remains: it should be their choice,” Gonzalez Rodgers wrote. “Consumer information, transparency and consumer choice are in the public interest.”
Apple said it would appeal Gonzalez Rogers’ denial to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which could grant Apple a temporary suspension before a Dec. 9 deadline.
“Apple believes that no additional business changes are required to take effect until all appeals in this case are resolved. We intend to request a stay by the Ninth Circuit based on these circumstances,” Apple said in a statement.
© Thomson Reuters 2021