Apple has filed an appeal against the ruling handed down in the Epic Games trial and has asked a court to stay the injunction granted against the company.
Apple filed a notice of appeal on Friday stating:
Notice is hereby given that Defendant Apple Inc. appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from the final judgment and order of permanent injunction entered on September 10, 2021 (Dkts. 813 & 816), as well as all rulings, orders, findings, and conclusions leading up to that judgment and order, including but not limited to those set forth in the Rule 52 Order After Trial on the Merits (Dkt. 812).
On September 10 Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple on nine out of the ten counts in the case but did grant an injunction that would stop Apple from prohibiting developers including buttons and external links directing customers to other ways to pay for digital goods.
Apple welcomed the ruling at the time, as it stated Apple didn’t have a monopoly on iOS payments but has now appealed against this injunction.
Along with its notice of appeal, Apple asked the court to stay the injunction pending the resolution of the appeals in this case. Apple said that it “understands and respects the Court’s concerns regarding communications between developers and consumers” and that it is “carefully working through many complex issues across a global landscape, seeking to enhance information flow while protecting both the efficient functioning of the App Store and the security and privacy of Apple’s customers.”
Apple hinted in the filing that it hopes striking the right balance may solve the court’s concerns and make the injunction itself unnecessary.
Apple says that the anti-steering provisions the court ruled against were barely mentioned by Epic during the trial and that the company didn’t claim to have been harmed by them. It says the implementation of the injunction “would upset the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the App Store, and would irreparably harm both Apple and consumers.” Apple says it wants a stay to “protect consumers and safeguard its platform while the company works through the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, and economic issues that any revisions to this Guideline would implicate.”
There are many complexities to running the global iOS ecosystem, with close to 200 storefronts, millions of developers, and billions of customers. As the Court recognized, Apple operates in a dynamic environment, with the trial being a “snapshot” at a single point in time in a “moving stream.” Implementing the injunction on December 9 could have unintended downstream consequences for consumers and the platform as a whole. Apple is working hard to address these difficult issues in a changing world, enhancing information flow without compromising the consumer experience. A stay of the injunction would permit Apple to do so in a way that maintains the integrity of the ecosystem, and that could obviate the need for any injunction regarding steering.
Going into more detail regarding the ruling, Apple warned that “links and buttons to alternate payment mechanisms are fraught with risk”, and that developers could try to take advantage of user trust.