Justice Elena Kagan ruled Wednesday (Aug. 9) that she would not allow an earlier appeals court decision to take effect right away in Epic’s quest to compel Apple to allow developers to direct iPhone users to other payment options, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Apple had asked the Supreme Court last month to hear its challenge to a June ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld part of the 2021 ruling that said the company could not block developers from offering payment options that take consumers outside its App Store.
PYMNTS has contacted Apple and Epic for comment but has not yet received a reply.
In its filing in July, Apple said the 9th Circuit overreached when it issued a nationwide injunction and that its petition to the Supreme Court will raise “far-reaching and important” questions about judges who do so.
Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, had petitioned the 9th Circuit to revive its claims that Apple’s restrictions on app distribution and payments services are essentially antitrust violations.
As PYMNTS has reported, the appeals court sided with Apple on nine other matters, however, including agreeing with a previous decision that Apple hasn’t broken antitrust laws.
While acknowledging that Apple had prevailed on those matters in the April ruling, Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter: “Fortunately, the court’s positive decision rejecting Apple’s anti-steering provisions frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there.”
The legal conflict between Apple and Epic began in 2020, when Apple pulled the Epic game Fortnite from the App Store after Epic built a workaround to avoid paying the 30% fee on customers’ in-app purchases. The case went to trial in 2021.
Apple last month became the target of yet another lawsuit, this time by more than 1,500 app developers in the U.K. that accuse the company of charging excessive commissions for in-app sales in the App Store.
The company is facing antitrust complaints targeting Apple’s App Store policies in a number of places, with the European Commission, France, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, and all conducting investigations into complaints about the App Store and its terms and conditions.