The federal judge in the Apple Epic Trial has ordered the iPhone maker to relax its anti-theft rules and comply with an earlier order to open its App Store for competitive forms of payment.
The decision hits hard appeal this could lead to the biggest forced change to the App Store since it was created more than a decade ago.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said on Tuesday that Apple was “initiating antitrust behavior” by banning app developers from showing customers external links to pay for digital goods outside the technology company’s own payment system.
She said these anti-steering rules had led to “super-competitive commission rates which resulted in extremely high operating margins [that have] not correlated with the value of his intellectual property ”.
An Apple spokesman said on Tuesday that the company would request another adjournment from the appellate court. “Apple believes that no additional business changes should be required to take effect until all appeals in this case have been resolved. We intend to ask the ninth circle [court of appeals] for accommodation based on these circumstances, ”the spokesperson said.
The Coalition for App Fairness, whose more than 60 members include Epic Games, praised the court’s latest decision.
“While this is a modest concession that does not address the root of Apple’s anti-competitive behavior, this order will provide much-needed relief to our members and developers worldwide,” said CEO Meghan DiMuzio. “No company, however large or powerful, should be allowed to dictate how and when other companies communicate with their own customers.”
Judge Rogers usually definitely in Apple’s favor in September denies nine of Epic’s 10 allegations alleging that the technology giant operated an illegal monopoly. Apple called the ruling a “clinking victory”.
But last month, the company appealed against one charge it has lost, and says an order to allow developers to add links and buttons to non-Apple payment options will irreparably harm both Apple and consumers. Apple asked for adjournment until the appellate court ruled on the matter.
Judge Rogers said Apple’s allegations of “irreparable injury” were “exaggerated”.
She added: “Consumers are quite accustomed to switching from an application to a web browser. Apart from the fact that it may take time to establish guidelines, Apple has not provided any credible reason for the court to believe that the order would not cause the alleged devastation. “
Judge Rogers told the court earlier on Tuesday that she was against Apple’s request because the appeal process would probably take “three, four, five years”.
She also denied Apple’s request for a 10-day extension to file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit. Pending appeal, the order that Apple orders to loosen its grip will take effect in a month.
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