A California judge said Friday that Apple must stop restricting developers from directing users away from in-app purchasing, a move that could let developers avoid the company’s 30 percent cut it takes on some sales.
Apple shares fell more than 3 percent after US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered the injunction, which was requested in a high-profile case between Fortnite maker Epic Games and Apple.
In her full decision, Rogers stopped short of calling Apple a monopoly, noting that “success is not illegal.”
But, she added, the company “is engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California’s competition laws.”
“The Court concludes that Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice,” Rogers wrote. “When coupled with Apple’s incipient antitrust violations, these anti-steering provisions are anticompetitive and a nationwide remedy to eliminate those provisions is warranted.”
Despite the order to ease its restrictions on in-app purchases, Rogers ruled in favor of Apple on nine of 10 counts.
Rogers sided with Apple in ruling that Epic breached its contract with Apple when it let Fortnite users pay it directly, refusing to go through Apple.
The judge’s injunction order takes effect in 90 days, but Apple will likely seek to block it before then and appeal the matter.
Representatives for Apple and Epic did not immediately return The Post’s requests for comment.
The ruling is major setback for Apple, which made more than $64 billion in gross sales last year from the App Store alone.
The ruling could impact other companies, like Google, that also operate their own app stores. Epic is currently in a similar lawsuit with Google for commissions on its Android system.
Shares of Google fell about 1 percent after the judge’s decision was issued.