Apple on Monday was granted a motion that temporarily suspends a court ruling which would require it to reverse its ‘’anti-steering’’ practices and allow iOS developers to offer alternative payment methods. The stay will be effective for 90 days, allowing the iPhone-maker to file a request to the Supreme Court to review the case, The Verge reports.
Apple’s anti-steering rules impose restrictions on developers regarding how they can direct their mobile app users to alternative subscription and in-app purchase payments outside the App Store ecosystem. Apple charges developers for all the payments done from the App Store ecosystem, which is the main reason why the long standing battle between Apple and Fortnite-maker Epic began.
In April 2020, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, after Epic launched a new payment system that bypassed the 30% in-app purchase cut. After the removal, Epic sued the iPhone-maker accusing it of being anti-competitive and having a monopoly.
In September 2021, Apple won nine of ten claims when Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the US District Court ruled that it hadn’t generally breached the antitrust law, but ordered the company to let developers offer alternative payment methods in their apps. Both Apple and Epic appealed the ruling, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision this April.
Apple is now asking the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling, which will be put on hold for 90 days with the new motion. As reported by The Verge, if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, the stay will be extended further until the court makes its decision, which may eventually lead to significant changes in Apple’s ecosystem.
In an attempt to prevent the stay, Epic’s lawyers said that the tech giant’s claims “have no prospect of Supreme Court review” and that “Apple has no choice but to rely on arguments that are so weak that it previously only mentioned them barely, or not at all.”
‘’Justice delayed, again’’, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney wrote in a tweet following the news.
Meanwhile, Although Apple has been granted the motion, Ninth Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. wrote: “…while the arguments in Apple’s motion may not be technically frivolous, they ignore key aspects of the panel’s reasoning and key factual findings by the district court. When our reasoning and the district court’s findings are considered, Apple’s arguments cannot withstand even the slightest scrutiny. Apple’s standing and scope-of-the-injunction arguments simply masquerade its disagreement with the district court’s findings and objection to state-law liability as contentions of legal error.”