Originally Published: 16 JAN 24 10:28 ET
By Brian Fung, CNN
(CNN) — Apple will have to comply with a sweeping injunction reshaping its relationship with mobile app developers, after the US Supreme Court declined to review the lower court’s order on Tuesday.
The high court’s decision not to hear the case is a blow to Apple, which for years has sought to prevent app makers from using buttons, links or other features within iOS apps to direct customers to purchase in-app content through payment channels other than Apple’s.
By not hearing Apple’s petition, the Supreme Court leaves in place a nationwide injunction prohibiting Apple from intervening when developers include such features in their apps. And it highlights how a lawsuit triggered by “Fortnite”-maker Epic Games appears to have resulted in lasting changes to Apple’s app store, affecting potentially millions of apps across iOS.
At stake are the lucrative fees that Apple can charge when in-app transactions are processed through the iPhone-maker’s proprietary payment channels. Apple generally takes a 30% cut of in-app purchases of digital goods and services.
Apple’s app store terms had included so-called “anti-steering” language asserting a right for the iPhone maker to block developers from adding features designed to circumvent Apple’s payment system. The injunction takes aim at that language, barring Apple from enforcing it.
That court order, first issued by a federal district court in Apple’s landmark antitrust battle against Epic Games, could affect potentially millions of app developers, Apple had said in its Supreme Court filings. Apple had argued that the order was unconstitutionally broad because it affected developers who were not involved in the Epic Games litigation.
In a related decision, the Supreme Court declined to hear Epic’s own appeal in the case.
This is a developing story. It will be updated.
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