Epic Games and Apple are resuming their antitrust battle in the US. Both sides have filed appeals following a hearing in one of the US District Courts last year. The court did not recognize that Apple is a monopolist in App Store sales, but sided with Apple.
Epic Games was not happy with this decision. They demanded Apple allow payments to be made through third-party payment channels. This would enable Fortnite’s creators to maximize their profits and avoid the high commissions from the App Store. Apple is dissatisfied with the court’s decision that apps can use third-party payment system links for payment.
These hearings will determine Apple’s future in the app marketplace, as well as whether or not it can set its own rules for payments and commissions in its marketplace.
The US Department of Justice, along with representatives from California, have now the chance to address the court. They have their own arguments in the dispute. Although the Department of Justice is unable to support any of the parties, the officials have begun to prepare an antitrust suit against Apple. This will affect the department’s ability in the future to influence Apple.
The Justice Department lawsuit expressed concern about how the lower court has read parts of US antitrust law (the Sherman Act) too narrowly and also concerns about the lower courts “misunderstanding” of market conditions and Apple’s monopoly position.
The appeal process takes into account the opinions of Apple critics such as Match, Tile, Basecamp, and the Coalition for App Fairness, as well other tech companies like Roblox, Microsoft, and consumer advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation Consumer Federation of America. Epic Games was also supported in part by 35 US Attorneys General.
Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple after Epic Games banned Fortnite from its App Store. Epic Games used a new payment method that allowed Epic Games to bypass Apple’s in-app purchase rules. This became the basis for an antitrust lawsuit, and it seems like this confrontation will last years.