'Precisely What the Antitrust Laws Prohibit:' Epic Games Appeals Apple App Store Ruling
Epic Games has filed an opening brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals aiming to overturn a previous ruling that Apple’s ownership of the iOS App Store does not constitute a monopoly. According to the Fortnite developer, “Apple’s conduct is precisely what the antitrust laws prohibit.”
The Verge reports that Epic has filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal aiming to overturn a previous ruling which stated that tech giant Apple was not engaging in monopolistic behavior by retaining control over its iOS App Store. The filing states:
Epic proved at trial that Apple restrains trade…by contractually requiring developers to exclusively use Apple’s App Store to distribute apps and Apple’s IAP for payments for digital content within apps.
If not overturned, [the district court] decision would upend established principles of antitrust law and…undermine sound antitrust policy.
In September, Epic’s attempts to challenge Apple’s App Store restrictions came to an end when a district court ordered Apple to remove certain restrictions on in-app payments but otherwise ruled that the company had not engaged in other anti-competitive practices. A separate appeal from Apple has since been filed to reverse the court-ordered in-app payment rules.
Apple’s Tim Cook got big pay bump in 2018: filing (Noah Berger/AFP)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 26: Fans attend day one of the Fortnite World Cup Finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium on July 26, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Judge Gonzales Rogers was quite ambiguous over whether or not Apple held monopoly power over the mobile gaming market in her ruling, stating: “The evidence does suggest that Apple is near the precipice of substantial market power, or monopoly power, with its considerable market share. Apple is only saved by the fact that its share is not higher, that competitors from related submarkets are making inroads into the mobile gaming submarket, and, perhaps, because [Epic] did not focus on this topic.”
In the appeals brief, Epic is attempting to draw a clearer link between the iPhone’s success in the mobile gaming industry and possible monopolistic behavior. “The district court’s factual findings make clear,” the filing alleges, “that Apple’s conduct is precisely what the antitrust laws prohibit.”
Apple said in a statement on the appeal: “In its ruling last year, the district court confirmed that Apple is not a monopolist in any relevant market and that its agreements with app developers are legal under antitrust laws. We are confident that the rulings challenged by Epic will be affirmed on appeal.”
Read more at the Verge here.