The legal battle between Apple and Fortnite developer Epic Games continued on Monday. Oral arguments will take place before a three-judge panel sitting in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The first decision in the case was made in September 2021 when Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple could not integrate the Epic App Store into the iPhone. The judge also ruled that the success of the Apple Store was “unlawful.”
Judge Gonzalez Rogers decided that Apple should allow developers to submit their apps to third-party payment platforms so that App Store customers can avoid using Apple’s in-app payment platform. Many developers are upset that Apple takes 15%-30% of in-app payments made through its platform. In August 2020, Apple has removed the popular Epic game Fortnite from the App Store after the developer added a link to its own in-app payment platform in the game that violates Apple policies.
If taken to the Supreme Court, a final decision is unlikely until late 2025
Don’t wait for the Court of Appeal to make a quick decision. According to the Associated Press (AP), the appeals court will take six months to a year to issue its decision. And the losing side could decide to take the battle to the Supreme Court. If it happens, this case will still be active in 2024 or 2025.
Fortnite was kicked out of the App Store afte
The reason this issue is so important to Apple is that it’s all about money. Some analysts estimate that the Cupertino-based tech giant is bringing in $15 billion to $20 billion a year from its cut of App Store revenue. Apple has maintained that it will use this money to help pay for the technology used for Apple’s iOS app store to be secure and easy to use.
Tomorrow, the three judges hearing oral arguments, Sidney R. Thomas, Milan D. Smith Jr., and Michael J. McShane, will first listen to Epic’s lawyer Thomas Goldstein. The AP reports that Goldstein will try to convince the panel that Judge Gonzalez Rodriguez erred when he viewed the App Store and Apple’s paid in-app platform as separate markets, rather than combining them.
The Justice Department will also try to convince the court that Judge Gonzalez Rodriguez interpreted the federal antitrust statute too narrowly in relation to future actions to prevent anticompetitive behavior in the technology market. Even if the DOJ doesn’t take sides, its arguments may help Epic convince the three justices that the lower court’s decision should be overturned.
Another lawyer, this one from the California Attorney General’s office, is expected to defend the law cited by Judge Gonzalez Rodriguez that allowed him to rule that Apple should allow developers to change the apps to third-party payment platforms.
Interestingly, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney uses an Apple iPhone
Apple’s Mark Perry will make a final argument where he can present Apple’s perspective on some of the questions other lawyers will be asked by the judges later in the evening. Most legal experts believe Perry will follow the testimony Apple made in front of the lower court 14 months ago.
In that lawsuit, Apple CEO Tim Cook testified that it was unfair to allow developers to circumvent Apple’s in-app payment platform. The regulator said this would weaken the security and privacy of consumers who buy an iPhone instead of an Android device. In his presentation, Cook said that forcing Apple to redirect App Store users to third-party paid in-app platforms creates a “toxic environment.”