The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by Epic Games that would have required Apple to immediately get rid of its “anti-steering” rule for third-party applications — a major change. Instead, the Mac-maker can wait until there’s a final decision by the high court.
This means Apple doesn’t have to change its policy that prevents developers from sending customers from their applications to their websites to pay for subscriptions or services … yet.
App Store anti-steering policy gets to live on
The court battle between Apple and Epic Games (maker of Fortnite) kicked off in 2020, with the game developer claiming the requirement that all third-party iPhone software come through the App Store made Apple a monopolist. It lost that argument in both a California District Court and the appeals court.
But the district- and appeals-court judges did order the end of Apple’s policy that prevents developers from “steering” customers to their websites. It’s this ruling that Epic Games asked the Supreme Court to implement immediately. Apple is appealing the decision to the Supreme Court, but the game developer didn’t want to wait for that to happen.
Epic got shot down, though. Justice Elena Kagan, speaking for the full court on this emergency request, ruled Wednesday that the anti-steering rule change ordered by lower courts remain on hold until the entire Supreme Court can weigh in, according to Reuters.
Judge confident App Store change is coming
Although Ninth Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. was the one who put the App Store change on hold in June, he seems sure Apple will lose its appeal in front of the United States’ highest court.
In his ruling, he said, “While the arguments in Apple’s motion may not be technically frivolous, they ignore key aspects of the panel’s reasoning and key factual findings by the district court. When our reasoning and the district court’s findings are considered, Apple’s arguments cannot withstand even the slightest scrutiny.”
If the Supreme Court does rule against Apple, third-party developers will be allowed to give customers the option to pay for applications and services outside of Apple’s in-app payment system.