The ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple regarding the latter’s App Store practices has taken another twist as Epic Games has requested the US Supreme Court to allow a lower court ruling against Apple to take effect. If the ruling is enforced, it could potentially force Apple to change its payment practices within the App Store. Epic Games, the creator of the popular video game Fortnite, filed a request, urging the nation’s highest court to lift a previous decision by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld an injunction against Apple. This decision handed Apple a 90-day window to pursue an appeal at the Supreme Court.
Epic Games initially launched an antitrust lawsuit in 2020, challenging Apple’s App Store practices. In April of this year, the 9th Circuit upheld a federal judge’s order, which could potentially require Apple to allow developers to include links and buttons that direct users to payment options outside of the App Store, thereby avoiding paying sales commissions to Apple. The trial judge had previously concluded that Apple had violated California’s unfair competition laws by preventing developers from “steering” users to alternative payment methods. However, it was also determined that Apple’s rules did not breach any antitrust laws.
Apple, in a bid to halt the injunction from taking effect until they can prepare an appeal to the Supreme Court, argued that the trial judge had made an error by barring Apple from enforcing its rules against all app developers in the United States, rather than solely focusing on Epic Games. Apple expressed concern that complying with the injunction before a complete judicial review could compromise user safety, leaving them vulnerable to fraud, scams, malware, spyware, and objectionable content.
Epic Games, on the other hand, maintains that the 9th Circuit’s standards for putting cases on hold are too lenient. They argue that allowing the injunction to be paused would be detrimental to their case, potentially allowing Apple to continue with its current business practices while the legal battle unfolds further. Overall, the necessity for fair competition in the digital market is a high point of this legal conflict between Apple and Epic Games. The verdict in this case will probably have significant repercussions for both app developers and consumers. All eyes are still on this high-profile dispute between two digital sector titans as we wait for the US Supreme Court’s ruling. Keep in touch with us for more updates.