Supreme Court denies Epic Games’ plea for urgent alterations to Apple’s App Store payment regulations

Aug 11, 2023, 12:44 PM UTC
2 mins read
Supreme Court denies Epic Games' plea for urgent alterations to Apple's App Store payment regulations

Epic Games has encountered a setback in its endeavor to accelerate changes to Apple‘s App Store payment practices. The known developer of Fortnite sought intervention from the Supreme Court, urging the reversal of a ruling by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that postponed an injunction against Apple in relation to its App Store regulations. Justice Elena Kagan, however, declined the entreaty without furnishing a rationale, as detailed in Bloomberg‘s coverage.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals initially upheld the injunction in April 2023 but opted to suspend its implementation in July, granting Apple the opportunity to present the case before the Supreme Court.

Subsequent to a high-profile legal clash between Apple and Epic Games in 2021, a lower-court judge determined that Apple had transgressed California’s Unfair Competition law by precluding third-party developers from guiding users toward alternate payment avenues. This verdict led to the issuance of the injunction with the intention of halting the contested practice.

Over the course of the past three years, these industry giants have been embroiled in a protracted struggle concerning in-app remittances on the iOS platform. Epic Games triggered Apple’s and Google‘s displeasure when it incentivized mobile Fortnite players with the promise of reduced costs for in-game V-Bucks currency, contingent upon circumventing the established iOS and Android payment systems. Apple and Google routinely levy a commission of up to 30 percent on transactions conducted within apps on their respective platforms.

Swiftly responding to this maneuver, the mobile platform magnates promptly withdrew Fortnite from their app stores, prompting Epic Games to instigate legal proceedings against both. These legal battles persist and continue to unfold. The Google case, which also involves Match Group as a plaintiff, is slated for trial this November.

Irrespective of the eventual outcome within the United States, Apple and Google find themselves compelled to usher in accessibility to third-party payment systems in specific markets, including South Korea and the Netherlands. Reports have also surfaced indicating Apple’s intention to permit third-party app stores on the iPhone, a change slated for the upcoming year. This adjustment largely aligns with forthcoming regulations from the European Union. Epic Games has already positioned itself for this eventuality, having readied its proprietary mobile app store in anticipation.

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