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California court sides with Apple against Epic Games' antitrust appeal

The ongoing fight between Epic Games and Apple over third-party App Store payments ended largely in favor of the tech giant, albeit with some concessions towards Epic.

Justin Carter

April 24, 2023

1 Min Read
Blue logo for the Apple App Store.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Apple in its continuing legal battle with Epic Games. An appeal made by the Fortnite developer alleging the tech giant had engaged in antitrust practices via its App Store has been mostly dismissed. 

Back in 2021, a judge had ruled that Apple would have to loosen some of its restrictions regarding third-party payments on its App Store. At the time, Epic chose to appeal the decision via a higher court examining the case, with CEO Tim Sweeney saying that first ruling "isn't a win for developers or consumers." 

Per Bloomberg, the three-judge panel acknowledged during this new ruling that there was a "lively and important debate" about the role of online payment systems. But it said it couldn't resolve that issue, and as such chose to "faithfully apply existing precedent to the facts.”

That said, the trial judge found Apple in violation of California's anti-competition laws, as it was keeping developers from informing users about other ways to spend money. Apple must still change those practices going forward. 

Regarding that claim, a company spokesperson told Reuters it "respectfully disagreed" with the Ninth Circuit court, and is "considering further review." 

Since that initial ruling in 2021, Apple has gradually changed its approach to third-party payment systems on the App Store. And more broadly, it's in the process of opening non-Apple app stores to exist on its ecosystem in both the United States and Europe

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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