Judge Denies Apple’s Request to Delay Order Enabling External Payment Options for App Store

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who has been appointed to rule over the Apple v. Epic case, has denied Apple’s motion for a stay regarding the orders pertaining to its App Store. On December 9th, Apple will be required to let third-party developers introduce links and additional navigation tools to external payment options.

According to Bloomberg, the order from Judge Gonzalez Rogers came during a hearing on Tuesday of this week. The case between Apple and Fortnite developer Epic Games has long been brewing since 2020. The trial kicked off earlier this year, where Apple was accused of using antitrust policies and was criticized for not allowing alternative payment options outside of the App Store.

“This will be the first time Apple has ever allowed live links in an app for digital content. It’s going to take months to figure out the engineering, economic, business, and other issues,” said Apple attorney Mark Perry. “It is exceedingly complicated. There have to be guardrails and guidelines to protect children, to protect developers, to protect consumers, to protect Apple. And they have to be written into guidelines that can be explained and enforced and applied.”

The trial between Apple and Epic Games did in fact lean heavier towards Apple’s favour. Judge Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple did not have to allow Fortnite back onto the App Store nor reinstate Epic’s developer account after the studio introduced its own payment options within the game. It was also ruled that Apple did not break any antitrust laws by doing so either. However, Apple was ordered to make integral changes to its App Store policies.

Alongside the order to implement external payment options within the App Store, Apple was ordered to remove a restriction pertaining to how developers could use the emails of its users. This has since been changed.

Apple appealed to Judge Gonzalez Rogers, asking to a stay to the order regarding external payment options. However, based the appeal of an indefinite stay of the injunction, Judge Gonzalez Rogers made the order for Apple to implement new measures on December 9th.

“You haven’t asked for additional time. You’ve asked for an injunction which would effectively take years,” Judge Gonzalez Rogers said. “You asked for an across-the-board stay which could take 3, 4, 5 years.”

Apple has since said it plans to appeal to the Ninth Circuit for a stay. “Apple believes no additional business changes should be required to take effect until all appeals, in this case, are resolved. We intend to ask the Ninth Circuit for a stay based on these circumstances,” writes an Apple spokesperson.