May 27, 2022

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Future Technology

Epic’s battle with Apple takes a turn as 35 states throw support behind Fortnite maker

The battle royale over Apple’s control of the App Store continues. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

A group of 35 states, along with Microsoft, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations, have thrown their support behind Epic Games in the Fortnite maker’s legal battle with Apple. In a brief filed Thursday with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, attorneys general for the states argued that the court should overturn the earlier ruling that Apple’s control over its App Store doesn’t violate antitrust laws.

“Apple’s conduct has harmed and is harming mobile app developers and millions of citizens,” they wrote in the brief. 

Apple and Epic have been locked in a court fight over how much control the iPhone maker should have over its App Store. Last year, Epic unsuccessfully argued to a US District Judge in California that Apple should be forced to allow app developers more freedom in how they offer apps to iPhone and iPad owners. However, the judge said Apple’s rules against allowing developers to direct users to other payment systems was anti-competitive, and issued an injunction to allow developers to do so in their apps. 

In December, Apple scored another win when the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed to delay that injunction. Apple now has until its appeals process with Epic concludes, which could take years.

The US Department of Justice also filed a brief, saying the original ruling was wrong, but declined to take a position on the merits of Epic’s and Apple’s arguments. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Epic.

More to come. 

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