Apple to request US Supreme Court to reverse App Store ruling in Epic Games Case
A few months ago, Apple won an antitrust suit against Epic Games. Now, the company wants to appeal against a ruling that affects its App Store.
You may recall that Epic Games sued Apple in 2020, for removing its popular game, Fortnite, from the iOS App Store. The issue was that Epic used a third-party payment solution for transactions made in the game, instead of using Apple's payment system. As this resulted in a violation of its licensing agreement, Apple banned Fortnite from the store.
Epic Games cried foul, claiming that Apple only removed the game because it wouldn't receive its 30% commission fee that it normally does for transactions made via the store's payment system. This resulted in a case that dragged on for a few years. In April 2023, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the previous ruling from 2021, which was in favor of Apple. It seemed to be a major victory, however, the company lost 1 of the 10 claims it had filed.
Apple to ask US Supreme Court to reverse App Store ruling
The Court of Appeals had found Apple guilty of violating California's Unfair Competition Laws. It said that the Cupertino company cannot ban third-party payment services, or links or buttons that lead to such gateways. Naturally, Apple wasn't pleased with this decision, because it not only affected the App Store in the State, but throughout the entire Country. This would mean that Apple will not receive the 30% commission fees for in-app transactions, which could be a serious blow to its revenue. The company's attorneys claimed that the Court had reached too far by issuing a nationwide injunction, and challenged the ruling. But, the Court wouldn't budge from its decision, which left the company with just one more choice.
Reuters reports that Apple wants to take the case to the US Supreme Court, and ask it to over-rule the decision made by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Epic Games may also ask the Supreme Court to hear its appeal. The petition, that was filed by Apple on Monday, indicates that it has some "far-reaching and important" questions, which includes questioning the power of judges to issue broad injunctions. You can read the filing here (PDF). Interestingly, Apple has once again played the same old security card, claiming that the iOS App Store is superior to Android's Google Play Store. The company plans to argue that the injunction, if it came in effect, could harm millions of iPhone users, app developers, and iOS as a platform itself.
It is worth noting that Apple does allow third-party payment methods on the App Store in many Countries. On a side note, the company will have to allow sideloading apps on iOS, i.e. to let users download and install apps from third-party app stores and sources. While this may be limited to users in Europe, it could happen in the coming months when iOS 17 is launched. This could also result in a loss of revenue for Apple, which is why the company is already in talks with representatives of the European Union, it could be interesting to see how Apple handles the situation.Advertisement