Apple confirms Epic Games court ruling compliance, warns of damage and confusion

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple continues to fight against the Epic Games injunction.
  • It has told a court it has already complied with part of it, regarding out-of-app communications between users and developers.
  • It was further warned of confusion and damage arising from the rest of the ruling and has asked for a delay.

Apple has confirmed that it is complying with part of the injunction passed down as a result of the Epic Games trial, but says that it needs the rest of the changes to be delayed because immediate implementation could "upset the integrity of the iOS ecosystem", jeopardizing user safety and privacy, and possibly forcing Apple to give up any compensation for its intellectual property.

In a court filing seen by iMore filed on Friday, Apple told the court:

Apple has already complied with one-half of the Court's injunction by striking the Guidelines restricting targeted out-of-app communications. Apple has moved to stay the other half of the injunction, which precludes Apple from enforcing the Guidelines' prohibition on in-app "buttons, external links, or other calls to action," because the immediate implementation of that aspect of the injunction would upset the integrity of the iOS ecosystem

As Apple notes, last week the company made changes to its developer guidelines, which no longer prohibit developers from contacting users and individuals outside of regarding other ways to pay for goods. The rule previously precluded apps like Spotify and Netflix telling users they could purchase subscriptions somewhere else.

However, Apple is still asking for a stay on the injunction, which it says could irreparably harm the company if it is implemented immediately. Apple notes that restrictions to linking out are tied to Apple's requirement that developers must use in-app purchases to sell digital content, something the court said was okay. Apple says eliminating the restrictions on in-app messaging and mechanisms would undermine this totally and would " force Apple to make its intellectual property available without compensation, and lessen the security and privacy afforded consumers."

Apple claims the injunction is not likely to survive a review under appeal, because Epic Games no longer has any standing to secure or enforce the injunction because it doesn't have a developer account with Apple or any apps on the App Store, all of which was terminated because of the Epic Games direct payment hotfix. Apple further claims Epic hasn't proved that anti-steering provisions harm competition in any relevant market or that they violate antitrust laws.

Apple says that a stay of the injunction will not harm Epic for the aforementioned reasons and that a delay would be in the public interest, giving Apple time to study the effects of the ruling on the iOS ecosystem. Apple has previously stated it hopes to solve the problem to a degree that a court injunction on the matter isn't necessary. Apple says the steps taken to comply with the injunction show " that the company is working in good faith to improve consumers' access to information in a way that will preserve the integrity of the ecosystem."

Apple further stated that if the court were not willing to grant a stay in full, that a temporary stay be allowed so that the Ninth Circuit can hear a request from Apple instead.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9