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Apple Inc on Wednesday relieved a US appeals court to make changes to the App Store ordered by a federal judge as part of the big tech company’s antitrust battle with Epic Games Inc.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals has asked Apple to delay the implementation of a federal judge’s order to allow developers to communicate with users inside their apps about alternative payment methods outside the App Store. Request accepted.

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The order means that Apple will be able to delay, perhaps for years, some of the most significant changes to how the company operates its lucrative App Store and Epic seeks wider appeal.

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“Apple has demonstrated at least that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the District Court’s determination that Epic Games, Inc., failed to show Apple’s conduct violated any antitrust law, but demonstrated that the same conduct violated California’s unfair competition law,” the appeals court order said.

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Apple argued in a late November filing with the appeals court that the immediate implementation of a preliminary decision in the case by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers would “harm millions of participants on either side of the App Store platform.”

In early November, Judge Gonzalez Rogers rejected Apple’s request to delay the injunction. The case began in August 2020 when Epic filed suit against Apple, claiming that the iPhone maker had control over software distribution on its devices and to force developers to use its in-app payment system. had an unfair monopoly, charging fees of up to 30%.

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In considering the appeal, Judge Gonzalez Rogers said the proposed migration would delay the implementation of his changes by years. Apple faced a December 9 deadline for implementing the changes.

In the original case, Judge Gonzalez Rogers ruled mostly in Apple’s favor except for issuing an injunction against the anti-steering provision in the App Store rules.

“We’re constantly evolving the App Store to help create a better experience for our users and the incredibly talented community of iOS developers,” Apple said. “Our concern is that these changes may create new privacy and security risks, and may disrupt the user experience that customers love about the App Store. We wish to grant this stay while the appeals process continues. I would like to thank the court for this.”

Epic declined to comment.

write to Tim Higgins at Tim [email protected]