Supreme Court denies Apple and Epic Games’ appeals in antitrust case

The Supreme Court has rejected requests to hear the antitrust dispute between tech giant Apple and Fortnite publisher Epic Games, marking a significant development in the ongoing legal battle, as spotted by The Verge. The case, known as Epic v. Apple, originated in 2020 when Epic introduced its own payment system for Fortnite, sidestepping Apple’s commission on in-app purchases. In response, Apple banned Epic from its iOS App Store, leading to a lawsuit from Epic alleging that Apple’s App Store practices violated US antitrust laws.

While lower courts largely favored Apple, they did acknowledge that Apple had acted anti competitively by preventing developers from informing users about alternative payment methods. The rulings mandated Apple to allow links and other actions that would bypass its payment system, ending anti-steering policies. However, Apple delayed implementing these changes through legal appeals.

The Supreme Court’s denial to hear the case suggests a potential end to Apple’s delays, requiring the company to reconsider its anti-steering rules. On the other hand, Epic’s efforts to be reinstated on the App Store or enable app distribution through sideloading or third-party stores have not succeeded.

The contrast between Epic’s recent win over Google in a California jury trial and its outcome against Apple highlights the complexity of the legal battles surrounding app store practices. Apple may face increased scrutiny in Europe as it confronts attempts to regulate the App Store under the EU’s Digital Markets Act, set to take effect on March 7th. 

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney expressed disappointment over the US outcome on social media but celebrated the end of anti-steering rules, encouraging developers to inform customers about better prices on the web.

Written by Maya Robertson


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