App Store payment rules won’t change as Apple’s battle with Epic Games heads to Supreme Court


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Apple’s current App Store rules will continue to stand as its case with Fortnite maker Epic Games heads to the Supreme Court — meaning developers won’t be able to redirect customers to their own payment systems anytime soon. The two tech giants have been battling over Apple’s requirement to use its in-app payments system, its commission structure, as well as its alleged monopolistic practices — something the lower courts found not to be the case.

Epic had asked that the federal appeals court’s most recent decision would stand while the case was argued at the nation’s highest court, but that request has now been denied.

If granted, Apple would have been forced to allow App Store apps the option to offer their own links or buttons to non-Apple payment systems, effectively permitting developers to circumvent Apple’s 15% to 30% commissions on purchases and subscriptions.

Though Apple largely won its antitrust case in the lower courts, the rules around in-app payments were the one area where it lost — and why it continues to fight. After the case reached the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the justices upheld a lower court’s judgment in favor of Epic under California’s Unfair Competition Law. This decision would have impacted Apple’s ability to set “anti-steering” rules for its App Store that today restrict developers from even pointing to other options to pay besides Apple’s own payments system.

Epic, naturally, wanted that ruling to stand, despite its continued legal battle. Not surprisingly, the court said no. Prior to this, Apple had been granted a motion that put the appeals court ruling on a temporary 90-day hold as it filed its appeal to the Supreme Court.

Bloomberg first reported the news of the Supreme Court’s decision, noting that Justice Elena Kagan decided not to let the appeals court decision go into effect. However, if the top court’s justices refuse to hear the case, then the ruling will stand, the report said.

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