A few months after successfully winning an antitrust lawsuit against Epic Games, Apple is now seeking to appeal a recent ruling that has implications for its App Store.
In 2020, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple after its popular game, Fortnite, was removed from the iOS App Store.
Epic Games Alleges Apple’s Motive
The crux of the issue was Epic’s use of a third-party payment solution within the game, bypassing Apple’s own payment system and violating their licensing agreement. Consequently, Apple banned Fortnite from its store.
Epic Games contended that Apple’s action was solely motivated by its desire to retain the 30% commission fee it typically receives for transactions made through the App Store’s payment system. This legal battle continued for a couple of years, culminating in a ruling in favor of Apple in April 2023 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. While this appeared to be a significant victory, Apple did lose one of the ten claims it had filed.
The Court of Appeals found Apple guilty of violating California’s Unfair Competition Laws and decreed that the company could not prohibit third-party payment services, links, or buttons leading to such services.
Apple Displeased with Appellate Court’s Decision
Unsurprisingly, Apple was displeased with this decision as it affected not only the App Store in California but also its operations across the entire country. The ruling meant that Apple would be unable to collect its standard 30% commission fees from in-app transactions, potentially dealing a significant blow to its revenue.
Apple’s legal team argued that the Court had overstepped its jurisdiction by issuing a nationwide injunction and contested the ruling. However, the Court remained steadfast in its decision, leaving Apple with one remaining recourse.
Apple intends to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. Epic Games may also appeal to the Supreme Court. Apple’s petition, filed on Monday, indicates that it raises significant and wide-ranging questions, including the scope of judges’ authority to issue broad injunctions.
Apple’s argument once again emphasizes the security advantages of the iOS App Store compared to Android’s Google Play Store. The company plans to assert that the injunction if enforced, could harm millions of iPhone users, app developers, and the iOS platform itself.
It should be noted that Apple already permits third-party payment methods on the App Store in many countries.
Additionally, there have been discussions about allowing sideloading of apps on iOS, enabling users to download and install apps from third-party sources. While initially limited to users in Europe, this policy change could potentially be implemented with the launch of iOS 17 in the coming months.
Source: REUTERS via MSN