The ruling, which upheld a previous order from a California federal court, was the result of a lawsuit Epic Games filed against Apple.
Epic Games accused Apple of imposing unfair requirements on software developers, including high commissions on in-app purchases.
While the trial judge determined that Apple did not violate US antitrust regulations, it found that the company did violate a state unfair competition law in California.
In response, Apple has filed a new submission challenging a nationwide injunction related to its conduct, arguing that its practices are “pro-competitive” and do not breach antitrust laws.
On the other hand, Epic Games argues that its allegations against Apple are directly related to the fundamental objective of US antitrust law, which is to promote competition. The company claims that the appeals court did not thoroughly examine the consumer benefits asserted by Apple against the anticompetitive consequences of its practices.
Lawyers from both companies have requested that the case be reviewed again by the panel, or that an 11-judge panel – known as “en banc” – be assembled to reconsider the ruling.
The final decision could rest with the US Supreme Court. In the meantime, the lower court ruling is suspended while additional appellate proceedings take place.
This ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games has significant implications for the app industry and the future of payment practices within app stores. If Apple is required to change its payment practices, it could have a profound impact on developers and consumers alike.
As the case progresses through the appeals process, it will be closely watched by industry observers, legal experts, and stakeholders in the tech community. The outcome has the potential to set a precedent for similar disputes between app developers and platform owners, and it may influence future antitrust cases in the technology sector.
Only time will tell how this legal battle unfolds and what implications it will have for the broader app ecosystem.
EU Digital Markets Act
Under the EU’s upcoming Digital Markets Act, Apple will be forced to allow third-party app stores to be “sideloaded” on its devices. Microsoft is already making preparations to launch its own third-party mobile app store on iOS and Android after the EU’s law comes into effect.
Apple has previously resisted calls to allow sideloading over claims that it endangers users.
In a letter to lawmakers last year, cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier said that Apple’s concerns about sideloading were “unfounded” and that it’s “simply not true” that legislation such as the EU’s puts user privacy and security at risk.
“It’s fairer to say that this legislation puts those companies’ extractive business models at risk. Their claims about risks to privacy and security are both false and disingenuous and motivated by their own self-interest and not the public interest,” wrote Schneier.
“App store monopolies cannot protect users from every risk, and they frequently prevent the distribution of important tools that actually enhance security. Furthermore, the alleged risks of third-party app stores and ‘side-loading’ apps pale in comparison to their benefits.
“These bills will encourage competition, prevent monopolist extortion, and guarantee users a new right to digital self-determination.”
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