Last updated: April 25, 2023, 3:12 AM IST
A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld a federal court order that could force Apple Inc to change payment practices in the App Store.
Apple said it can appeal the decision. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a 2021 injunction in an antitrust lawsuit brought by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games that could require Apple to allow developers to provide links and buttons for in- third-party app payment options and prevent them from paying sales commissions to the iPhone maker.
Apple shares ended the day slightly higher at $165.33. The appeals court sided with Apple in nine other cases in the case, agreeing with the court that Apple’s App Store rules do not violate antitrust laws and allowed its commissions of up to 30% for in-app payments.
“For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple is in compliance with state and federal antitrust laws,” Apple said in a statement. “We respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling on the sole remaining claim under state law and are considering further review.”
Apple did not say whether it plans to appeal to a larger group of 9th Circuit judges or to the U.S. Supreme Court. The company has 14 days to appeal. The court’s orders remain suspended as long as an appeal is filed.
In a statement, Epic admitted it lost on its antitrust claims, but said the court order “gives iOS developers the freedom to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly. We are working on the next steps.”
While Epic lost at trial on most of its charges that Apple violated antitrust laws, the judge found in the trial that Apple violated California’s unfair competition laws by prohibiting developers from telling users about other ways to pay.
The court judge said Apple could no longer ban links and buttons to third-party payment options. But unlike competition authorities in several countries, the court judge gave no guidance on how Apple should allow those links or buttons, leaving open the possibility of future legal battles over how to make the changes.
The appeals court said the court’s order for Apple to change its conduct was appropriate because it would be too difficult to put a price on the damage Apple’s rule has done to Epic.
“The court did not clearly err in ruling that Epic sustained an injury for which monetary damages would be inadequate,” the 9th Circuit wrote Monday.
Apple has been forced to open up its in-app payment systems by competition authorities in other countries such as South Korea, the Netherlands and Japan.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed)