Apple Wins Big Antitrust Appeals Court Battle Against Epic Games Over App Store Policies (Updated)

Leading iPhone maker Apple has won big in terms of its antitrust-focused appeal that was staged against the makers of Fortnite, Epic Games.

The ongoing court battle was upheld by the district court’s ruling made during an earlier point in time and was linked to several antitrust claims that were now seen getting upheld in Apple’s favor.

In the same way, another decision regarding the lower court’s judgment was upheld in favor of Epic Games too. This was linked to the state of California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Epic Games had accused Apple of conducting some unfair business dealings regarding its App Store policies. Moreover, the top mobile game producer really hoped to showcase in its appeal how Apple behaved in an unlawful manner by limiting the distribution of applications across iOS devices to the App Store. And that forced payments to go via the company’s personal processor and prevented developers from speaking to clients regarding alternative payment methods.

The ruling was first made public to leading media outlet Bloomberg and after a short while, we saw tech giant Apple released a statement on the matter.

The decision made in favor of Apple resounded its victory in this case as 9 out of the 10 claims were put forward in the company’s direction, the report mentioned. And this is the second time in two years that we’ve seen the Federal Court make a decision about how Apple follows antitrust laws at both the state and federal levels.

The App Store says it continues to market competition and make way for innovation while expanding further on such opportunities. They are proud of the contributions on offer for its loyal clients as well as developers globally.

At the same time, it was interesting to see how the company did disagree on the ruling regarding one specific claim and for that, they’re asking for a review.

As one can imagine, such a ruling of Epic Games seems to be a major setback for them and many other developers who felt they could get the chance to force Apple to open iOS devices to various third-party app stores as well as different payment systems.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, also shared his thoughts on this development by tweeting that, "Apple prevailed at the 9th Circuit Court. Though the court upheld the ruling that Apple's restraints have 'a substantial anticompetitive effect that harms consumers', they found we didn't prove our Sherman Act case". Adding further, "Fortunately, the court's positive decision rejecting Apple's anti-steering provisions frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there. We're working on next steps."

The first time we heard about such a lawsuit was in 2020 when Epic sued Apple and forced them to get rid of Fortnite from its App Store. This was right after it intentionally violated the App Store terms regarding in-app purchases. And even though Apple won the majority of the lawsuit when the judge declared the tech giant as not functioning as a monopolist, the court did favor Epic Games on Apple steering policies linked to restrictions on such purchases.

It mentioned that the tech giant wouldn’t be able to prevent developers from directing users toward other means of payment.

Therefore, we saw both Apple as well as Epic Game issues appeals against the decision and Apple was forced to make changes to the policies on the App Store in terms of external links. Meanwhile, Epic had to try for its antitrust case once more. But today’s decision is proof that Apple is following all policies as per state law.

This story was updated On 26th April, with an addition of Tim Sweeney's statement.
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