A judge has issued a permanent injunction against Apple in the ongoing Epic vs. Apple lawsuit surrounding Fortnite and app payment systems -- and it could massively shake up the mobile market.
As you probably know by now, last year's introduction of the "Epic Direct Payment" system for Fortnite on Android and iOS led to the game being removed from the iOS App Store and Google Play. Epic Games subsequently took Apple to court and quickly followed up with a lawsuit against Google, too.
The case has continued to progress since then and major development has finally happened earlier today: a judge has handed down an injunction against Apple on one of the key points in this case. Should this matter not be appealed, we may very well see some major changes in the mobile app market and beyond.
Epic vs. Apple Lawsuit Can Have Huge Consequences for Mobile App Developers
As Gamespot reports, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers's ruling states that Epic Games has "overreached" with many aspects of the case it brought against Apple. However, it did rule in Epic's favor on the critical point of the Fortnite developer circumventing Apple's payment system, noting that "Apple’s conduct in enforcing anti-steering restrictions is anticompetitive."
While the judge ruled that Epic Games failed to make its case for Apple being a monopoly, it did rule that Apple cannot prevent third-party payment systems (such as the Epic Direct Payment system that kicked off this whole debacle) from being used to circumvent Apple's App Store fees.
It gets bigger than that, though -- aside from allowing alternative purchasing mechanisms, the injunction would also allow the use of third-party ecosystems that may conflict with Apple's business. Valve, for example, was unable to publish Steam Link on the App Store back in 2018 due to these restrictions and Xbox Cloud Gaming is also unavailable on iOS for similar reasons.
We may very well see some long-requested apps such as Steam Link and Xbox Cloud Gaming make their way to iOS should this ruling stand. Both Epic Games and Apple have the right to appeal this ruling in the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit, although neither of them have made any moves at the time of writing. This legal battle is far from over, but today's ruling was certainly one of the more interesting developments.
Who do you think will ultimately win the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit? Do you think app stores should allow third-party payment processors and ecosystems? Let us know in the comments below!