Judge Gonzalez-Rogers, the judge presiding over the Epic v. Apple lawsuit issued a permanent injunction against Apple, forcing them to allow developers, such as Epic Games, to offer in-app purchasing if they so choose. This news comes via Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge. The court ruled that Apple is:
permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.The Verge
The complete ruling (also obtained via The Verge) included some remarks from Judge Gonzalez-Rogers that illuminates her thinking a bit. She references both Epic and Apple’s definitions of the “marketplace” in question, and offers her own perspective:
“The relevant market here is digital mobile gaming transactions, not gaming generally and not Apple’s own internal operating systems related to the App Store,”
Judge Gonzalez-Rogers continues: “the court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws,” Adding: “Nonetheless, the trial did show that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California’s competition laws.”
No one knows exactly what is going to happen next but it’s incredibly likely that Apple will appeal this order, and we’ll have to see what happens after that.
That said, it’s absolutely a win for Epic and any of their supporters on the sidelines today and a blow to Apple and threatens their grip on purchases that take place in the App Store. Apple’s stock tumbled once the news broke, dropping nearly 3.5% although it has recovered a bit at the time of this writing.