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US appeals court allows Apple to delay opening up its App Store to third party payments

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 09, 2021
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With this, the tech giant can continue using its own in-app payment system as the sole system of payment for apps

United States appeals court has paused one of the most significant aspects of the Epic vs Apple ruling, putting a stay on the enforcement of the injunction issued by the lower court that would have mandated it to allow links and buttons to payment methods outside of its App Store.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Apple’s request to pause the injunction. With this, the tech giant can continue using its own in-app payment system as the sole system of payment for apps on its App Store despite an earlier ruling from the district court that the exclusive arrangement is illegal.

“Apple has demonstrated, at minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the district court’s determination that Epic Games, Inc failed to show Apple’s conduct violated any antitrust laws but did show that the same conduct violated California’s Unfair Competition Law,” the order read (via The Verge ).

“Apple has also made a sufficient showing of irreparable harm, and that the remaining factors weigh in favour of staying part (i) of the injunction and maintaining the status quo pending appeal,” it read.

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“Therefore, we grant Apple’s motion to stay part (i) of paragraph (1) of the permanent injunction. The stay will remain in effect until the mandate issues in this appeal. The existing briefing schedule remains in place,” it further said.

The stay puts the enforcement of the earlier ruling on hold until the appeals court fully hears the case. “Our concern is that these changes would have created new privacy and security risks, and disrupted the user experience customers love about the App Store. We want to thank the court for granting this stay while the appeals process continues,” an Apple spokesperson said as quoted by The Verge .

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in September had ruled that Apple will require to allow third-party payment systems on iOS apps. The decision was part of a broader ruling that dismissed antitrust allegations levied by Fortnite maker Epic Games.

The court had ruled that from December 9, Apple will no longer be able to prohibit “buttons or external links” that direct users to payment systems outside of the App Store.

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The stay however does not extend to the second part of the injunction, which was related to communication with users outside iOS. The ruling had also ordered Apple to allow “communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.”

This aspect of the order has been unaffected by the stay. Apple in October had announced an update to its App Store guidelines with multiple changes. One of the key changes announced is that the tech giant will now allow developers to contact customers with other purchasing methods.

The change was a result of an earlier agreement by Apple with small developers in the United States to resolve a class-action suit from US developers.

Published on December 09, 2021

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