Apple is initiating one last-ditch effort to maintain a cut of in-app sales, asking the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of Epic Games’ anti-trust case, Reuters reports. Two lower courts ruled that Apple must drop its guidelines preventing apps from including their own payment options, a policy that helped Apple’s bottom line.
The fight began in 2020 when Epic rolled out a new Fortnite update that allowed gamers to purchase digital coins through a direct payment feature. The move violated Apple’s policy that required all iOS games to use in-app purchases — and gave Apple a 30 percent cut of the profits. Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store in response, despite its regular status as one of its highest-grossing games. In retaliation, Epic sued Apple to end its “unfair and anti-competitive actions” with the goal of changing its policy versus seeking any damages.
The lawsuit was a mixed bag for both parties involved: In 2021, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Epic knowingly violated Apple’s rules and the iPhone maker wasn’t required to add Fortnite back to its App Store. Rogers also stated that Apple wasn’t acting like a monopoly but that the company must allow apps to provide their users with third-party payment systems. The change went into effect last year, and the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the entire injunction this past April.
In their filing, Apple’s lawyers claim that the ruling extends beyond Epic Games and “exceeds the district court’s authority under Article III, which limits federal court jurisdiction to actual cases and controversies.” Basically, they argue that the court overreached and asked the Supreme Court to acknowledge that and let its App Store go back to business as usual (developers giving but cuts of sales to Apple). One way or another, Apple will at least have to adapt in some countries, with new European Union regulations requiring the company to allow third-party app stores by 2024.