Apple Scores Another Victory in Ongoing Legal Battle Against Epic Games
Apple Inc. emerged victorious in its ongoing antitrust legal battle against Epic Games over App Store policies. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous lower-court decision, which dismissed most of Epic's claims that accused Apple of violating federal laws by not allowing any competing marketplaces on its iOS platform. This appeals court ruling marks another significant win for Apple in this high-profile case.
The dispute between the two technology giants began in August 2020 when Epic Games attempted to bypass Apple's 30% platform fees by introducing a direct payment option in the popular game Fortnite. This move led to the removal of Fortnite from the App Store and the termination of Epic's developer account. The lower court ruled against Epic in nine of the ten counts it had brought against Apple, prompting the gaming company to file an appeal.
Judges from the appeals panel acknowledged the importance of the ongoing debate about the role of online transaction platforms with market power in the economy and democracy. However, they asserted that their role as a federal court of appeals is to apply existing legal precedents to the facts of the case. With this ruling, the court maintained that they adhered to the current legal framework and did not attempt to resolve the broader debate around market power and antitrust issues.
Following the initial lower court ruling, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney requested Apple to reactivate Fortnite's developer account, assuring the tech giant that Epic would comply with Apple's guidelines on all its platforms. However, Apple rejected this request, stating that it would not consider allowing Fortnite back on the App Store until the conclusion of the legal battle with Epic.
In conclusion, the recent appeals court ruling further reinforces Apple's position in its ongoing tussle with Epic Games, marking a crucial turning point in the legal fight. While the decision may not put an end to the broader discussions about antitrust, online platforms, and market power, it does exemplify the complexities involved in such cases. As the battle rages on, both Apple and Epic Games must navigate an intricate legal landscape with potential implications for other tech giants and the future of the industry as a whole.