Apple loses bid to stop creators bypassing in-app purchasing rules, could cost billions

Apple loses bid to stop creators bypassing in-app purchasing rules, could cost billions

Apple has lost its bid to put on hold orders that require it to change App Store rules as part of an antitrust lawsuit from the makers of Fortnite.

The Cupertino-based tech giant had been told, starting December 9, it can no longer prohibit developers from including buttons or links in their apps which take users to alternative means of payments.

By doing that, developers are able to avoid Apple's commission on in-app purchases, which is 30 percent for those who earn over US$1 million.

US district Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers largely ruled in Apple's favour in September after a weeks-long trial. But she did require a key concession on the external payments.

That forced the company to request a stay on the order on the basis "that complying with the order could cause it and consumers harm".

"The requested stay will allow Apple to protect consumers and safeguard its platform while the company works through the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, economic issues," the original filing said.

But Gonzales Rogers has turned that down, saying the motion "is fundamentally flawed".

"Apple's motion is based on a selective reading of this court's findings and ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction," Rogers said.

"Consumers are quite used to linking from an app to a web browser. Other than, perhaps, needing time to establish guidelines, Apple has provided no credible reason for the court to believe that the injunction would cause the professed devastation."

She also said the inconvenience of having to open browsers and retype URLS only works to the advantage of the tech giants.

Sidestepping Apple's in-app purchasing system was the reason Fortnite was originally banned from the App Store, with creators Epic Games suing as a result.

Bloomberg reports pressure on Apple to lower its commissions could ultimately hit revenue by between US$2 billion to US$4 billion annually.

Epis is also appealing after Gonzales Rogers found Apple had not violated antitrust laws, with chief executive officer Tim Sweeney saying it could take five years and a trip to the US Supreme Court to be fully resolved.

Apple has already said Fortnite will not be allowed back into the App Store until all legal processes have been exhausted.