A US district court found Apple guilty of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour covering the in-app purchasing policy of its App Store, dealing a major blow in a long-running battle between the company and Fortnite developer Epic Games.

In the ruling today (10 September), the judge issued a permanent injunction which requires Apple to allow app-related purchases on iOS through payment methods other than the App Store, and notify users of alternative options.

The order takes effect in 90 days.

A trial heard evidence Apple used “anti-steering provisions” which hid “critical information from customers” regarding the payment structure of in-app purchases, and unlawfully stifled consumer choice, the court stated in its ruling.

Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple in August 2020 after its hit gaming title Fortnite was removed from the App Store after the gaming company introduced a direct payment option which circumvented the iPhone maker’s 30 per cent commission.

The case led to a number of attacks against app store providers, including Google Play, and calls for a worldwide overhaul of their practices.

Last month, South Korea became the first country in the world to require Google and Apple to open up their systems to alternative payment channels.