Court Rules Against Apple in Fortnite Lawsuit. Will In-App Purchases Return to comiXology?
In a decision that is sure to be appealed, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of Epic Games in its lawsuit against Apple. The lawsuit was over Apple’s requirement that they get 30% of the revenue from purchases made within apps on their site. The fight began over Epic’s game Fortnite, a massive revenue generator.
In 2020, Apple removed Fortnite from the iOS store after Epic offered a discount on V-Bucks purchased outside of the App store. The move was in response to Apple collected 30% of profits made from purchases on Apple devices. Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple in August 2020 as well as an awareness campaign #FreeFortnite.
Here’s the key part of Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers’ decision:
The Court, having considered the evidence presented at the bench trial in this matter and consistent with its findings of fact and conclusions of law, HEREBY ORDERS as follows:
1. Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) 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 felt that while it isn’t an issue of monopoly, Apple’s requirement is anticompetitive.
In 2022, Apple can no longer require purchaes in games or apps on Apple devices to go through Apples’ App Store. That opens up developers to have their own marketplaces. The injuction takes place December 9 unless a higher court intervenes. Epic also filed a similar lawsuit against Google in July 2021 which will be interesting to see how that plays out.
In recent days Apple had already loosen restrictions when it came to purchases due to a class-action lawsuit as well as an antitrust investigation in Japan.
Why is this relevant to comiXology and comic fans?
In 2014, comiXology announced they were changing their purchasing process where digital comics would have to be bought through the comiXology website. It was speculated that Apple’s cut of the purchases was the reason for the change.
Now, will we see a shift by comiXology back to easier purchasing on Apple devices after this latest decision? There’s some key signs to watch for that might be in the works but with the court decision still having a chance for appeal, don’t expect changes any time soon.