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Apple succeeds in delaying App Store changes to in-app purchase rules

iPhone users won’t see third-party in-app purchase options within their favourite apps for now, after Apple succeeding in delaying the court-ordered changes.

Despite a judge ruling that Apple could no longer monopolise in-app purchases, following its legal scrap with Epic Games, Apple has managed to delay that switch until its appeal process has been exhausted. That could take years.

Apple has welcomed the stay, saying that the decision could have created safety issues for customers if the mandated change was implemented. News of the successful appeal was first reported by The Terminal (via Mark Gurman).

In a statement Apple said: “Our concern is that these changes would have created new privacy and security risks, and disrupted the user experience customers love about the App Store. We want to thank the court for granting this stay while the appeals process continues.”

The appeals process is likely to be lengthy, so developers hoping to bypass handing 15-30% of their in-app purchase fees to Apple, by adding their own payment methods, are likely to be in for a long wait.

The legal wrangling was the result of Epic’s efforts to add its own payment method into Fortnite. That quickly resulted in Apple suspending Epic’s developer account and removing Fortnite from the App Store. Neither have been restored.

This defeat for Apple came as part of an otherwise lopsided decision in the Cupertino-based company’s favour. However, Apple is going to do everything it can to wipe that L from the records.

In the original verdict back in September, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers ruled Apple was now “permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from 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.”

However, the big takeaway was the larger verdict, which started “Apple is a monopolist under federal or state antitrust laws”. That could have opened up a much larger can of worms for Apple.

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