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Epic vs Apple ruling leaves plenty of unanswered questions


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A ruling has been delivered in the legal battle between Apple and Fortnite publisher Epic Games, and while the judge ruled against Apple in one important aspect, the rest went very much the company’s way.

From 9 December, Apple is now barred 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” – a ruling that could be as relevant to services like Spotify and Amazon’s Kindle store as to Fortnite.

Spotify has already welcomed the ruling. However, so has Apple. “The Court has confirmed, after reviewing evidence from a 16-day trial, that Apple is not a monopolist in any relevant market and that its agreements with app developers are legal under the antitrust laws,” said its general counsel and SVP Katherine Adams. That’s because outside the specific issue of preventing developers from pointing iOS users to alternative payment methods, the rest of the ruling pretty much went Apple’s way.

Epic boss Tim Sweeney promised to appeal – “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers” – while observers are already picking over the legal implications of the differences between buttons and links to figure out what exactly might happen after 9 December.

Stuart Dredge

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