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It seems that the Supreme Court in the US has heard enough in the ongoing Epic vs Apple anti-trust case denying appeals from both the Fortnite studio and its opponent Apple in a move Epic CEO has since called “a sad outcome for all developers”.
The long-running case between Apple and Epic has been going since at least 2020, after Epic tried to implement its own payment system in Fortnite and bypassing the usual commission paid to Apple for in-app purchases. Apple banned Fortnite from the App Store as a result, and Epic then – after a public campaign throwing shade at Apple for the move – filed a lawsuit in response, accusing both Apple (and, in a later related suit, Google) of anti-competitive practices. While Epic would win its case against Google by December 2023, it wasn’t such a decisive victory against Apple.
Despite the fact Epic won some of the points of the case – including Apple originally being ordered to allow links and calls to action that could bypass Apple’s payment system – it did not win its bid to get Fortnite reinstated on the Apple store or to force Apple to allow apps to be distributed via third party stores. As per The Verge, both companies had attempted to appeal the decision to try and get more of a decision in their favour, but petitions from both Apple and Epic Games were firmly rejected by the Supreme Court.
In response, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney took to X (formerly Twitter) to give a statement on the ruling in a thread, opening by saying “The court battle to open iOS to competing stores and payments is lost in the United States, a sad outcome for all developers.” Though he celebrated the end of what he called “Apple mandated confusion screens” he called out Apple’s intended implementation of allowing third party apps, pointing out that they’ll still be allowed to take a massive 27 percent commission, even if items are bought from a website linked from within an app. According to Twitter account GamesFray, it also seems that Epic is also being asked to pay Apple legal fees to the tune of $73.4 million dollars.
“The fight goes on,” Sweeney concluded. “Regulators are taking action and policymakers around the world are passing new laws to end Apple’s illegal and anticompetitive app store practices. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act goes into effect March 7.
Elsewhere, a Fortnite leak reveals exciting new mode and unfinished map seem to be in development.