Apple vs. Epic Games: US Court of Appeals Rules Apple’s App Store Rules Do Not Violate Antitrust Law
A US appeals court on Monday upheld a federal court order that could force Apple to change its payment practices in its App Store.
Apple said it could appeal the decision. The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2021 order in an antitrust case brought by Fortnite creator Epic Games that could compel Apple to allow developers to provide links and buttons for options payment methods to third parties and to avoid paying sales commissions to the iPhone. maker.
Apple shares ended the day slightly higher at $165.33 (about 13,500 rupees). The appeals court sided with Apple on nine other issues in the case, agreeing with the trial court that Apple’s App Store rules do not violate antitrust laws and allowing the maintaining its commissions of up to 30% for in-app payments.
“For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple abides by state and federal antitrust laws,” Apple said in a statement. “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision on the only remaining claim under state law and are considering further review.”
Apple hasn’t said whether it plans to appeal to a larger panel of 9th Circuit justices or the U.S. Supreme Court. The company has 14 days to file its appeal. Trial court orders will remain on hold while appeals proceed.
In a statement, Epic acknowledged losing its antitrust claims, but said the trial court’s order “frees iOS developers from sending consumers to the web to do business with them directly there. We are working on the next steps”.
While Epic lost at trial on most of its claims that Apple violated antitrust laws, the trial judge found that Apple violated California’s unfair competition laws by prohibiting developers from informing users of other means of payment.
The trial court judge said Apple can no longer prohibit links and buttons to third-party payment options. But unlike competition authorities in several countries, the trial court judge gave no instructions on how Apple should authorize these links or buttons, leaving open the possibility of future legal battles over how the changes must be brought.
The appeals court said the trial court’s order for Apple to change its behavior was appropriate because it would be too difficult to put a price tag on the damage Apple’s rule caused Epic.
“The District Court did not clearly err in finding that Epic suffered harm for which monetary damages would be insufficient,” the 9th Circuit wrote Monday.
Apple has been forced to open up its integrated payment systems by antitrust authorities in other countries like South Korea, the Netherlands and Japan.
© Thomson Reuters 2023
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