To get the 2021 judgment in the Epic Game vs. Apple case overturned, the developer has filed an Appeal Reply and Cross-Appeal Response Brief in response to Apple’s appeal filed at the Ninth Circuit in March 2022.
In 2020, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of exercising anticompetitive behavior by unfairly charging a 30% commission for all in-app purchases on the App Store. The developer sought the court’s ruling to allow third-party app stores on iOS.
However, Judge Roger ruled that Apple did not violate antitrust law and found Epic in breach of contract in 2021. Unhappy with the judgment, the developer appealed the verdict stating that the court “made errors”.
Epic Games argues third-party app stores on iOS will not comprise iPhone’s security
In Apple’s response, the tech giant said that Epic’s accusations were “unprecedented” and “unfounded” and the developer failed to provide substantial evidence to prove its claims. It also added that Epic was accusing the court of making an error because it wants to “change the narrative”.
Now, in its counterclaim, Epic Games is reiterating its previous arguments made during the trial and its appeal. The developer emphasized that sideloading or third-party app stores on iOS will not compromise iPhone’s security because Apple already allows third-party app stores on macOS.
Apple also asserts that the relief Epic seeks will compromise the security of the iPhone. But that is untrue. The operating system Apple uses in its Mac computers (“macOS”) does not include the challenged restraints found in the iPhone operating system (“iOS”), and Apple consistently touts the Mac’s security.
Apple also permits multiple alternative payment solutions in the App Store for apps selling physical goods, confirming that the requirement to use Apple’s in-app payment solution, IAP, for digital goods serves no procompetitive goal.
If Epic prevails, the App Store would not be dismantled. No customer would ever be required to use any of the things Apple complains about–an alternative app store, direct downloads for app distribution, or an alternative payment solution. The difference is that Apple would have to compete for its customers.
In her 2021 ruling, Judge Roger also found Apple’s anti-steering policy anticompetitive and ordered the tech company to allow developers to add links to third-party payment methods and make changes to the App Store within 90 days. Apple appealed against that order at the Ninth Circuit court and was granted a stay.
At this moment it can not be speculated which side will win the appeal. However, it can be said that Epic Games and Apple’s contentious relationship is likely to continue post-litigation.