The US Supreme Court rejects the Apple-Epic Games case

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to entertain Apple’s challenge to a lower court ruling that mandated modifications to specific regulations within its lucrative App Store. This decision marked the conclusion of the prolonged legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games, the creator of the popular video game “Fortnite.”

The justices also rejected Epic’s appeal against the lower court’s determination that Apple’s App Store policies, governing the distribution and payment for software, did not violate federal antitrust laws. The Supreme Court did not provide reasons for dismissing the appeals.

In response, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, in a social media post, acknowledged the loss in the court battle aimed at opening Apple’s iOS to competing stores and payments. Apple, however, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Epic initiated an antitrust lawsuit in 2020, alleging that Apple operated as an illegal monopolist by compelling consumers to obtain apps exclusively through its App Store and purchase digital content within apps using its proprietary system, which incurs up to a 30% commission for in-app transactions.

While U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected Epic’s antitrust claims in 2021, she found Apple in violation of California’s unfair competition law by prohibiting developers from directing users to alternative methods of making digital purchases. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld much of this decision in 2023. Consequently, Apple is now obligated to allow app developers to include links and buttons guiding users to alternate payment methods for digital content within their apps.

Epic CEO Sweeney highlighted in his social media post that developers could now exercise their court-established right to inform U.S. customers about better prices on the web. In its appeal, Epic argued that the 9th Circuit’s decision shields monopolistic tech-platform practices from antitrust scrutiny, while Apple contended that the broad injunction exceeds the constitutional authority of federal courts.


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