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Epic Games Loses Trial with Apple Over Payments

 |  August 9, 2023

Apple and Epic Games are locked in a legal battle over the terms of their App Store transactions.

On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court handed Epic Games a setback, denying its request to lift a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which put an injunction on hold that had been issued by District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. This will allow Apple to continue its current App Store payment practices while it pursues a Supreme Court appeal.

According to the Verge, the dispute between Apple and Epic Games started in 2020, when Epic Games filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing Apple of acting as a monopolist by denying consumers the ability to make digital purchases that bypass Apple’s in-app system and cutting them off from alternative payment systems that would offer lower commissions.

After Judge Rogers found Apple violated California’s unfair competition law, she issued an injunction requiring Apple to allow developers to provide links and buttons to offer consumers other ways to pay for digital content in their apps.

Apple had argued that allowing such links and buttons would expose consumers to fraud, scams, malware, and objectionable content, making Apple liable for the actions of third-party providers. To address Apple’s concerns, Judge Rogers extended a 90-day stay that would allow Apple to file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Epic Games, however, was unhappy with the decision. In response to the delay, they stated that it would “injury not only Epic but also innumerable consumers and other app developers for a significant period of time.” Epic also criticized the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, saying their standard for putting cases on hold was “far too lenient.”

Related: Epic Games v. Apple: A Case Summary

Apple responded to these criticisms, reminding Epic Games that it was asking for “extraordinary relief” that should only be given when “serious and irreparable harm” is present, and made their case that putting the case on hold would actually protect users from fraud and malware and that the 9th Circuit Court failed to acknowledge the rulings and factual records in their decision.

Despite Epic’s arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court denied their request to lift the 9th Circuit Court’s decision, leaving the injunction on hold until Apple has a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court.

MacDailyNews, a tech blog, said of the ruling that “Epic is nuts…they want all of the benefits of Apple’s App Store for free. That isn’t how any of this works.” and conceded that “well, at least Epic is really good at one thing; losing.”

Apple’s App Store produces billions in revenue through its commissions, resulting in a windfall of importance for the company. The fight for Epic Games to gain access to a lower fee and allow developers the opportunity to offer discount codes to their customers could mean a huge financial loss for the tech giant, depending on the Supreme Court’s decision.

Source: The Verge