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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"Fortnite" creator Epic Games' Apple lawsuit failed to level the walls of the App Store, though it did leave some cracks in Apple's fortress.

Yes, but: The modest changes Apple now has to make are more likely to benefit other iOS developers than to help Epic itself, unless the game-maker backs down from an all-or-nothing approach.

Driving the news: In a Friday ruling, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple was not a monopoly and denied the bulk of Epic's requests.

  • However, the judge did strike down Apple's policy — what antitrust lawyers call "anti-steering" — that prevents developers from linking to other ways to buy in-app digital goods and services.
  • Epic was also ordered to pay a few million dollars in damages to Apple, but that's not what either side really cares about.

Catch up quick: Epic kicked off the fight back in 2020 by adding its own payment mechanism to the "Fortnite" app, despite Apple's prohibition. Apple kicked "Fortnite" out of the App Store, and then Epic sued.

Between the lines: Apple said it is still studying the ruling — and it could appeal. On Sunday, Epic filed its notice of appeal.

  • If the verdict stands, it could benefit companies from Match Group to Roblox, who offer both in-app purchases through Apple as well as alternative options via the web.

The big picture: The judge's ruling comes on top of two other changes to the App Store brought about through legal actions.

What they're saying: Epic, for its part, made it clear it wasn't satisfied with the ruling.

  • "'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," CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter, promising to "fight on." (He was later egged on by Elon Musk.)

Go deeper

Epic's Matrix demo promises photorealistic video game graphics

The playable city of The Matrix Awakens. Image: Epic Games, Warner Bros.

Epic Games is using an impressive new demo set in the world of The Matrix to promote its business and argue that photorealistic video games are within reach.

Why it matters: Long before Fortnite made Epic the behemoth it is today, the company’s Unreal Engine game development tech greatly influenced how games were made and what they look like.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.