An appeals court upheld the status quo in Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple, upholding a decision that was largely a victory for Apple. In its ruling Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the closed App Store and Apple’s security restrictions did not violate antitrust laws, but that Apple cannot support rules that prevent users from learning about alternative payment options.
Apple spokeswoman Marni Goldberg made the following statement:
Today’s decision confirms Apple’s stunning victory in this case, with 9 out of 10 lawsuits decided in favor of Apple. For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple complies with antitrust laws at the state and federal levels.
The App Store continues to drive competition, drive innovation and empowerment, and we are proud of its tremendous contribution to the development of users and developers around the world. We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision on the only remaining state lawsuit and are considering a further review of the case.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney shared his thoughts on the court’s ruling on Twitter, noting that while “Apple prevailed in the 9th Circuit,” the court’s decision to dismiss Apple’s policy to ban pointers to third-party payment options “frees iOS developers from having to direct consumers in Internet”. “We are working on the next steps,” Sweeney added.
The legal saga began in 2020 when Apple pulled Fortnite from the App Store after the app allowed users to make in-app purchases using Epic’s own payment processor. This allowed Epic to avoid the 30% fee that is charged when using Apple’s own app payment system. Epic Games sued Apple shortly after removing Fortnite from the App Store, alleging that the company had committed “dishonest and anti-competitive practices.”
Recently, Apple has taken a number of steps in an attempt to address growing antitrust concerns, such as enabling “reader” apps such as Kindle, Netflix and Spotify to bypass Apple’s in-app payment requirements by linking to their own websites. In addition, iOS 17 is rumored to create conditions for third-party app downloads . This will be done to bring the platform in line with the new European law on digital markets.
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