Epic has appealed Friday’s ruling in its antitrust lawsuit against Apple. This may come as a surprise, as Epic successfully convinced the court that Apple must allow external purchase links within apps on iOS. But Epic CEO Tim Sweeney considers the ruling a failure, and ironically, Apple calls it a success. What’s going on here?
Well, Epic Games failed to meet any of its primary goals in this trial. While Apple must allow outgoing links in iOS apps, it doesn’t need to accommodate third-party purchase systems within apps. Developers are still not allowed to host their own app stores on iOS, and of course, Apple dodged accusations of enforcing a monopoly over mobile games.
In the grand scheme of things, Apple got off lightly. External purchase systems create a ton of friction—they redirect the app experience into a mobile browser, where customers may get distracted or discouraged from buying digital content. Developers that implement external purchase systems may dodge App Store fees, but they could sell less product than developers who stick with Apple’s seamless in-app payment system.
That’s why Apple (publicly) credits Friday’s ruling as a success. In a statement to The Verge, the company claimed that “the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law.” Apple could delay or even eliminate its obligations with a successful appeal, but that would mean returning to court and risking a more severe punishment.
Of course, Apple may be forced to return to court if Epic continues to pursue antitrust charges. In this case, the company could say “screw it” and shoot for an appeal.
Does Epic have grounds to continue pressing charges? Well, according to the judge who presided over Epic v. Apple, “evidence does suggest that Apple is near the precipice of substantial market power, or monopoly power,” but charges failed to pass “because [Epic] did not focus on this topic.”
Source: The Verge