Apple Asks Supreme Court to Review Epic Games App Store Ruling
The ruling had the potential to reduce the substantial earnings generated by the App Store by allowing app developers to guide users to alternative payment methods.
This move by Apple is the latest development in its ongoing legal battle with Epic Games concerning the operation of its app marketplace.
The App Store is a significant income source for Apple, as it charges developers a commission, which can be as high as 30%, for the sale of digital products and services.
Epic Games, the creator of the popular Fortnite game, is, however, contesting this fee.
Over the years, Apple has faced criticism from app developers and scrutiny from governments globally regarding its dominance in the $160 billion app distribution market. This has already led to the company revising some of its rules to address these concerns.
Apple’s request to the Supreme Court comes shortly after Epic Games filed a petition urging the court to review another aspect of the ruling, specifically whether Apple’s App Store policies violate federal antitrust laws.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide by the end of the year or early next year whether it will consider either or both of these petitions.
In a complex ruling in September 2021, a federal judge in Oakland, California, partially rejected Epic’s claims that Apple’s policies for its online marketplace violated federal law by preventing third-party app marketplaces on its operating system.
Nonetheless, the judge determined that Apple had violated California state law by prohibiting developers from informing consumers about alternative payment options.
This decision was upheld by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in April.
Since Epic Games sued Apple in 2020, Apple has made adjustments to the way the App Store operates to address developer grievances.
The dispute originated when Apple removed the Fortnite game from the App Store due to Epic’s creation of a workaround to avoid the 30% fee on in-app purchases by customers.