As a result of a ruling in the Epic versus Apple legal battle, Apple must allow developers to include alternate purchase links in apps on the App Store — but Apple prevailed in most other counts.
While the injunction by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did not demand that Apple make alternative App Stores mandatory, the ruling is not what one would call a complete win for Apple.
As part of a larger ruling, Friday’s injunction issued at the same time is clear about disallowing Apple’s “anti-steering” provisions in the App Store. In the ruling, Judge Gonzalez Rogers is specific about what Apple is disallowed from doing.
“[Apple is] restrained and enjoined 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, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app,” the judge wrote.
It isn’t quite clear what the limitations are of the injunction. Speculation abounds that this could be as simple as a Square link in-app with Face ID authentication. Also unclear is how Apple will decide to interpret the ruling, and how any follow-up complaint about it will be adjudicated.
The injunction also explicitly allows developer communication with customers through volunteered account registration information, contrary to Apple’s policies. This does not mean that Apple has to share information it has, but rather, it allows developers to use information that they gather by a sign-up or registration process.
Apple has 90 days to comply with the order. The injunction is limited to just the anti-steering rules in the App Store.
Epic vs. Apple – the ruling as a whole
Epic won one aspect of the case, as it pertains to California’s Unfair Competition Law. Apple prevailed in breach of contract clauses.
Specifically, Epic needs to pay damages equal to “30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue Epic games collected” through Epic Direct Payment, plus any revenue collected through November 1 to date of judgement, plus interest.
Part of the ruling was the definition of the…