A court in Oakland, California, has ruled that Apple cannot stop app developers directing users to third-party payment options.
Apple had argued that every one apps should use Apple’s own in-app payment options.
In a status trial, Epic Games had challenged the up-to-30% cut Apple takes from purchases – and argued that the App Store was monopolistic.
On Friday, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers ruled that “the court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple could be a monopolist”.
However, she also issued a cease and desist order, stating that Apple could not prohibit developers linking to their own purchasing mechanisms.
For example, a movie-streaming service will now be ready to tell customers to subscribe via its own website, without using Apple’s in-app purchasing mechanism.
Epic has also taken action against Google over its Play Store.
Apple’s closed payments system is hugely lucrative for the tech giant, although the corporate says it doesn’t know exactly what quantity it makes.
The ruling effectively states that Apple cannot ban developers from communicating with customers. Often there are cheaper options for consumers far away from the App Store, however, Apple didn’t allow companies to inform consumers of this.
Epic had argued that this was unreasonable which developers should be ready to inform users that they might make purchases aloof from the App Store.
However, in an exceedingly win for Apple, the judge also ruled Epic didn’t demonstrate Apple was operating an illegal monopoly.
Judge Yvonne Gonzales-Rogers said: “Apple enjoys a considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinary high-profit margins.”
But added: “These factors alone don’t show antitrust conduct. Success isn’t illegal.”
A spokesperson for Apple said: “Today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store isn’t in violation of the law.
“Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment during which we do business, and that we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the simplest within the world.”
Epic Games’ chief Tim Sweeney said the ruling was “not a win for developers or consumers” and vowed to “fight on”.