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In a recent development, Apple has successfully obtained a motion that relieves the company from immediate implementation of App Store alterations pertaining to its “anti-steering” rules. The decision, as reported by The Verge, grants Apple a 90-day window to request the Supreme Court’s intervention in the ongoing legal tussle.
Since 2020, Apple and Epic Games have been entangled in a fierce court battle over the former’s App Store regulations. Last year, the presiding judge generally favored Apple, ruling that the tech giant did not violate antitrust laws with its mandatory use of the in-app purchase system. However, the ruling did impose a requirement on Apple to update its “anti-steering” guidelines.
As a result, Apple received an order to implement App Store changes that would permit developers to employ metadata, buttons, links, and other persuasive methods to direct users towards alternative purchasing options outside of the App Store. This marked a significant milestone, enabling developers to explore alternate payment mechanisms.
During the ongoing appeal process, Apple was not required to execute these changes. However, the appeal concluded in April 2023, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the original ruling and once again siding with Apple against Epic. However, the court maintained the mandate for App Store rule modifications.
Apple contends that these App Store alterations will disrupt the delicate equilibrium between developers and consumers, ultimately leading to irreparable harm to both parties. Moreover, Apple argues that it necessitates ample time to navigate the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, and economic ramifications that would arise from such an update.
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In April, Apple expressed support for the court’s decision while simultaneously expressing disagreement with the proposed App Store changes, indicating a consideration for further review. As part of its ongoing legal strategy, Apple will now petition the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Presently, Apple has a 90-day window to file its request with the Supreme Court. Should the Court decide to take up the case, Apple will be relieved from implementing App Store changes until a final ruling is reached. Conversely, if the Supreme Court opts not to hear the case, Apple will be obligated to make the required modifications to the App Store.