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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A federal judge's long-awaited ruling in Epic Games' antitrust lawsuit against Apple gave both sides opportunities to claim wins.

Driving the news: The ruling, delivered Friday morning, requires Apple to let Epic, and other developers, tell users about alternative payment mechanisms and to link out to their own transaction systems.

Yes, but: Federal District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Epic "failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist" and is not entitled to other remedies it sought.

  • Apple won’t be forced, as Epic had hoped, to open up its app store to competing marketplaces like Epic’s.
  • The court also ruled that Epic breached its contract when it altered "Fortnite" on iOS last year and says Apple is entitled to at least $3.6 million in relief.

Apple’s one loss: As had been hinted at during the trial, Judge Rogers was troubled by Apple’s “anti-steering” provisions, ruling that they “threaten ... an incipient violation of antitrust law.”

  • Such provisions have blocked developers from telling customers that Apple takes a 30% cut of in-app purchases and bars them linking to or advertising cheaper ways to make those purchases outside of the app.
  • The judge issued an injunction against Apple’s anti-steering rules, which could lead to games and other apps advertising off-app storefronts.

Catch up: The case went to trial in May, following a feud between the two companies in which Epic tried to circumvent Apple’s payment systems through its own in-app option in "Fortnite."

  • Apple and Google both removed "Fortnite"; Epic sued.

What they're saying: "Today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law," Apple said in a statement. "As the Court recognized ‘success is not illegal.'"

  • Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted, "Today’s ruling isn't a win for developers or for consumers," and added, "Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers."

What's next: Epic plans to appeal the court’s decision.

  • Apple representatives said they will study the ruling before deciding on next steps, including a possible appeal.

This story has been updated with additional details.

Go deeper

Appeals court scraps order mandating COVID protections for immigrant detainees

ICE detention center in downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Judges on a federal appeals court Wednesday voted 2-1 to overturn an order requiring authorities to monitor and possibly release immigrants being held at detention centers if they are at high-risk for long term COVID-19 complications, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Why it matters: In its ruling, the San Fransisco-based panel said a federal district judge overreached in 2020 when he issued a preliminary injunction requiring the monitoring. The Trump administration appealed that ruling, and Biden's Justice Department continued to argue against it when he took office.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

3 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

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