Epic Games has filed a request with the US Supreme Court to review a 2021 ruling that cleared Apple of violating antitrust laws. The dispute revolves around Apple’s App Store policies, which prohibit developers from directing users to third-party payment systems. While the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision that Apple’s practices had an anticompetitive effect, it did not qualify as an antitrust case. If Epic Games wins its appeal, Apple could face a significant financial loss as it currently takes a cut of all App Store purchases.
The issue of Apple’s App Store policies extends beyond Epic Games, with other companies like Spotify and Tile part of the Coalition for App Fairness, pressuring Apple to change its rules. In international markets, authorities in South Korea and the Netherlands have ruled that Apple must allow third-party payments, although Apple continues to levy a transaction fee. Additionally, Apple is reportedly developing support for third-party app stores in response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether it will take up the case before the end of the year. In the meantime, the popular game Fortnite remains unavailable on the App Store after being banned by Apple in August 2020 due to Epic Games’ inclusion of alternative payment methods. Furthermore, Epic Games is also engaged in a legal battle with Google over similar practices, with the trial set to begin in the next few weeks. Both Epic Games and the Match Group are accusing Google of abusing its control over Android app distribution through the Play Store.