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Epic vs. Apple Case Sees 35 US States and Department of Justice Back ‘Fortnite’ Developer

Epic vs. Apple Case Sees 35 US States and Department of Justice Back ‘Fortnite’ Developer


The Epic vs. Apple Lawsuit took an interesting turn on Thursday, as attorneys general for 35 states told a California appeals court that Apple is indeed stifling competition with its App Store.

Reuters reports the joint statement was submitted into the appeals process that is taking place after the judge’s decision in the Epic v. Apple lawsuit, with the attorneys general siding with the “Fortnite” video game maker on the issue.

“Apple’s conduct has harmed and is harming mobile app-developers and millions of citizens,” the states said.

“Meanwhile, Apple continues to monopolize app distribution and in-app payment solutions for iPhones, stifle competition, and amass supracompetitive profits within the almost trillion-dollar-a-year smartphone industry.”

The US Department of Justice also submitted a challenge to last year’s ruling, saying the court had “committed several legal errors that could imperil effective antitrust enforcement, especially in the digital economy.”

The DoJ said the court had interpreted the Sherman Act, an 1890 law prohibiting anti-competitive behavior, “narrowly and wrongly, in ways that would leave many anti-competitive agreements and practices outside their protections.”

The judge’s decision in the case ruled mostly against Epic last year, although neither Apple nor Epic was satisfied with the ruling. Epic Games was attempting to force Apple to allow third-party app stores on the iOS platform.

Apple said on Thursday it was confident Epic’s challenge would not be successful, and that it remained “committed to ensuring the ‌App Store‌ is a safe and trusted marketplace for consumers and a great opportunity for developers.”

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that the 15% to 30% commission that Apple charges most app makers through its in-app payment system did not violate antitrust law.

Numerous professors and activist groups also weighed in through court filings in support of Epic, says the Reuters report.

The states said that Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers erred when she decided that a key antitrust law did not apply to non-negotiable contracts Apple makes developers sign, a claim Epic also made when it first filed its appeal earlier this month.

“Paradoxically, firms with enough market power to unilaterally impose contracts would be protected from antitrust scrutiny — precisely the firms whose activities give the most cause for antitrust concern,” they said in the joint statement.