If you’re wondering whether Epic Games is satisfied with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ decision to give iPhone and iPad developers a way around Apple’s 30 percent cut, the answer is most definitely no. Epic will appeal the court’s ruling in Epic v. Apple, a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge.
It’s not hard to imagine why: Epic lost on every other count. Apple will not be forced to allow users to sideload apps, or accept other app stores, or lower its fee below 30 percent.
The lone decision against Apple was a significant one, but it only forces Apple to allow app developers to point to their own choice of payment methods instead of Apple’s IAP — and Epic might not even benefit from that decision unless Apple agrees to bring Fortnite back to the App Store to begin with. That’s yet another thing the court didn’t mandate.
Epic’s also being forced to pay Apple a few million dollars, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but not a winning look.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney also made it clear on Twitter that he doesn’t see the decision as a win:
Today’s ruling isn't a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers. https://t.co/cGTBxThnsP— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021
Thanks to everyone who put so much time and effort into the battle over fair competition on digital platforms, and thanks especially to the court for managing a very complex case on a speedy timeline. We will fight on.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021
He also suggests that Epic, not Apple, is in control of when Fortnite returns to the App Store, but it reads like sour grapes. Sure, Epic might decide to withhold the game until or unless Apple provides more favorable terms, but right now Epic doesn’t have the ability to bring Fortnite back even if it wanted to. It’s not clear whether Apple is even interested.
In fact, we’re currently waiting to see if Apple will cut off Epic’s developer account for Unreal Engine, too. When the ruling takes effect on December 9th, it will also end a preliminary injunction that kept Apple from doing that.
It’s not clear whether Apple might also want to appeal. It’s possible! Publicly, the company called it a “huge win” and a “resounding victory,” writing that “the headline is that Apple’s app store business model has been validated.” But it’s not entirely a win. If app developers have the ability to ditch in-app payments for the likes of PayPal and Stripe, it could put some of Apple’s billions at risk.