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In context: Epic Games this week filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, of the court’s decision from last year in its antitrust case against Apple. This time, it has the backing of dozens of US states.
Epic filed a 91-page appeal to the US Ninth Circuit court of appeals this month, against last year’s decision that Apple was within its right to kick Fortnite off the iOS App Store, and that Apple’s behavior on the App Store isn’t monopolistic. Attorneys general of 34 US states and the District of Columbia issued a statement this week in support of Epic.
States including Utah, Texas, Colorado, and Indiana assert that Apple monopolizes the distribution of software on iPhones and iPads, harming consumers. Epic’s own appeal elaborates on the possible advantages of allowing third-party app stores on iOS such as lower prices, more choices, and lower fees for developers.
The case started in 2020 when Epic started letting Fortnite players on iOS make purchases within the game without paying Apple a cut of the revenue. When Apple took Fortnite off the App store, Epic sued.
In September of 2021, a California court ruled mostly in favor of Apple, saying that iOS is not a market in itself but rather only a part of the larger digital sales market. Though, it also said Apple could no longer stop iOS developers from pointing customers in the direction of payment methods that don’t incur Apple’s fees. The court also said Apple might eventually become monopolistic. Epic was ordered to pay millions of dollars, and both companies appealed the decision soon after.
While Apple hasn’t allowed Fortnite back onto iOS as a native app, it did return earlier this month through GeForce Now.