Apple secures major victory in Epic Games' app store lawsuit appeal

Thursday 27 April 2023

Apple has won a court battle against Epic Games, the maker of hit online game Fortnite, over the policies of the Apple app store that serves users of the iPhone and iPad.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, upheld a lower court’s ruling from 2021 that largely sided with Apple in the case.

The appeals court’s ruling represents a defeat for many app developers, as well as activist groups and state attorneys-general, who had sided with Epic Games in its argument that Apple was in effect acting as a monopoly by restricting app developers to doing business through the App Store, where it charges a 30% fee on the revenue developers collect.

Epic Games’ founder, Tim Sweeney, had long argued that the 30% fee was excessive, and wanted Apple to either reduce the fee or allow app developers to bypass the app store’s fee system, and charge consumers directly.

Sweeney’s points of contention with Apple’s practices are virtually identical to the complaints of Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who was in Washington, DC, last week to lobby policymakers for a change to US laws that would reduce the ability of app stores – particularly the App Store and Alphabet’s Google Play store for Android devices – to act as gatekeepers for all apps installed on devices.