- Epic Games loses its recent appeal against Apple
- App Store policies not deemed monopolistic, says court
- Apple not found guilty of violating federal antitrust law
- Apple banned Fortnite and Epic Games from the App Store in 2020
Epic Games has just lost its recent appeal against a 2021 ruling that judged Apple’s practices regarding its App Store policies as non-monopolistic. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the original decision valid on Monday, reports Bloomberg.
The circuit court’s decision rejects an appeal argued by Epic Games that “Apple’s online marketplace policies violated federal law because they ban third-party app marketplaces on its operating system.” However, the court did side with Epic Games in its claims that the Cupertino company violated California state law.
Apple has been making small yet steady changes to its App Store policies since Epic Games sued the company in 2020. The lawsuit came forward after Apple banned Fortnite and later Epic Games itself from the App Store in the same year. Epic Games offered its third-party payment solution in Fortnite to avoid paying Apple’s 30% fee on in-app purchases.
There is a lively and important debate about the role played in our economy and democracy by online transaction platforms with market power. Our job as a federal court of appeals, however, is not to resolve that debate — nor could we even attempt to do so. Instead, in this decision, we faithfully applied existing precedent to the facts
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on today’s ruling
The original 2021 ruling affirmed that App Store policies “prevent consumers from getting cheaper prices.” However, the ruling rejected Epic’s notion that the App Store is monopolistic, and as such Apple does not violate federal antitrust law.
Apple has issued the following statement with regard to today’s court ruling:
Today’s decision reaffirms Apple’s resounding victory in this case, with nine of 10 claims having been decided in Apple’s favor. For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple abides by antitrust laws at the state and federal levels. The App Store continues to promote competition, drive innovation, and expand opportunity, and we’re proud of its profound contributions to both users and developers around the world. We respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling on the one remaining claim under state law and are considering further review.
The news comes as Apple is facing increased scrutiny from market regulators in Europe under the EU’s Digital Markets Act. The company is also being put under fire by antitrust enforcers in Germany and France over its ever-increasing market influence. As a result, iOS 17 is expected to allow app sideloading in Europe as part of a .X update early next year.