Supreme Court Rejects Epic v. Apple Antitrust Case

Supreme Court rejects Epic v. Apple antitrust case. It is true that Apple won most of the cases already, but the tech firm wanted a said reprieve on changing the payment rules of the Store.

Supreme Court Rejects Epic v. Apple Antitrust Case

Supreme Court Rejects Epic v. Apple Antitrust Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an antitrust case between Apple and the creator of Fortnite, Epic Games. This decision effectively leaves in place the outcomes of previous rulings, which are mostly favorable to Apple but not entirely.

The legal battle, known as Epic v. Apple, was initiated in 2020 when Epic Games introduced an independent payment system for Fortnite’s in-game currency. This move circumvented Apple’s fees on in-app purchases, leading Apple to remove Epic from its iOS App Store. In response, Epic sued Apple, alleging that the App Store and Apple’s restrictive iOS policies breached U.S. antitrust laws. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, however, largely dismissed Apple’s claims, a stance that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals mostly supported.

What Both Court Rulings Identified

However, both court rulings identified Apple’s practice of prohibiting developers from informing users about alternative payment methods as anti-competitive. Consequently, Apple was instructed to permit developers to include links and other directives in their apps to bypass Apple’s payment system.

This ruling aimed at ending Apple’s ‘anti-steering’ policies. Apple managed to delay implementing these changes through legal appeals, buying time until the Supreme Court reviewed the case. With the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, the window for such delays appears to have closed, potentially pushing Apple to reassess its anti-steering rules.

Epic’s Efforts to Compel Apple

On the other hand, Epic’s efforts to compel Apple to readmit it to the App Store and to allow app distribution through sideloading or third-party stores have not been successful. This outcome contrasts sharply with Epic’s recent win against Google in a California jury trial, although Google intends to appeal.

Moreover, Apple may confront increased demands to liberalize iOS in Europe. The company is currently contesting regulations under the EU’s Digital Markets Act, set to be enforced starting March 7th.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Expressed Disappointment on the Ruling

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney expressed disappointment on social media, stating that the effort to open iOS to competing stores and payment systems has been defeated in the U.S., a verdict he described as regrettable for all developers.

Nonetheless, he hailed the end of anti-steering rules and encouraged developers to start informing U.S. customers about more favorable prices available on the web. Apple has not yet commented on the Supreme Court’s ruling.



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