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Supreme Court Won’t Hear Apple App Store Payment Case

The Supreme Court will not hear Apple’s appeal in its legal battle with Epic Games.

As Bloomberg News reported Tuesday (Jan. 16), the decision means that a 2023 appeals court ruling centered around the Apple App Store — one that could effect billions of the tech giant’s revenue — will still stand.

That ruling had said that while Apple’s business model didn’t violate antitrust laws, it had broken California’s Unfair Competition Law by limiting developers’ ability to inform users about alternate payment systems that may cost less, and mandated that Apple must allow developers to tell customers about less expensive payment options.

“As of today, developers can begin exercising their court-established right to tell US customers about better prices on the web,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said on X, in a thread that included screenshots of two different apps. “These awful Apple-mandated confusion screens are over and done forever.”

PYMNTS has contacted Apple for comment but has not yet gotten a reply.

The legal war fight between Apple and Epic dates back to 2020, when Apple removed the game maker’s flagship title Fortnite from the App Store after Epic created a workaround to avoid paying the 30% fee on customers’ in-app purchases.

The case went to trial in May 2021, with the companies battling over the App Store policies and whether Apple hinders competition. While Apple largely prevailed in that case, the trial judge did order the company to change its app store policies.

Epic has also taken Google to court, arguing that the tech giant had monopolized the Android app distribution market through side deals with competitors and had used its resources to hinder competition.

Google responded by saying its partnerships were designed to enhance the competitiveness of Android-based phones against their chief rival, the iPhone.

A jury last year found that Google Play holds monopoly power via its parent company, engaging in anti-competitive behavior.

A report from December by Bloomberg argued that this decision could be bad for Apple as well, with the two companies holding an app store “duopoly” that brings in $200 billion a year and determines how billions of consumers use their mobile devices.