Epic Games encountered a setback in its efforts to hasten alterations to Apple’s App Store payment methods. The video game company appealed to the Supreme Court to reverse a US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which postponed an injunction against Apple’s App Store guidelines. The Supreme Court, with Justice Elena Kagan presiding, declined the plea, offering no clarification for the decision, as noted by Bloomberg.
Earlier in April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had confirmed the injunction but later suspended it in July, giving Apple an opportunity to present the case to the Supreme Court.
The roots of this conflict trace back to a landmark trial between Apple and Epic Games in 2021. A lower-court judge concluded that Apple breached California’s Unfair Competition Law by preventing third-party developers from guiding users to different payment avenues, leading to the initial injunction.
The ongoing feud between Apple and Epic Games, spanning three years, revolves around in-app payments on the iOS platform. The controversy was stirred when Epic Games announced mobile Fortnite players could avail a discount on the in-game V-Bucks currency by circumventing both iOS and Android’s payment systems. Given that Apple and Google claim up to 30% commission on in-app purchases, this move by Epic was not well-received. As a response, Fortnite was quickly removed from both app stores. Consequently, Epic Games initiated legal proceedings against both tech giants, with the court battles still in progress. Notably, a case against Google, featuring Match Group as a co-plaintiff, is scheduled for a trial this November.
Although the US legal outcome remains uncertain, Apple and Google have been mandated to incorporate third-party payment systems in specific markets like South Korea and the Netherlands. Reportedly, Apple might also embrace third-party app stores on iPhones by next year, primarily to align with forthcoming European Union directives. In anticipation, Epic Games already has its mobile app store set up and operational.