Epic and Apple have been at loggerheads since 2020, when Epic attempted to circumvent Apple’s 30% commission fee on in-app purchases by offering Fortnite’s in-game currency, V-Bucks, at a discount on its site. As a result, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, kicking off a lengthy legal battle between the two companies.
The battle came to a head in April of this year, when a California court found in Apple’s favour in the majority of cases, but ordered it to allow developers to implement in-app purchases outside of the App Store. Both companies appealed this ruling, with Apple filing for an injunction with the 9th circuit court of appeals last month to give it time to prepare its case.
Epic appealed against this injunction with the supreme court, but liberal justice Elena Kagan yesterday denied Epic’s request to overrule the court of appeals’ decision, leaving Apple able to contest and potentially escape the ruling from April.
An epic battle
The core reasoning for Apple’s injunction is its opinion that the court had overreached in its decision to apply the ruling of one specific case to the entire App Store ecosystem, and that this could cause harm to consumers.
"Apple will be required to change its business model to comply with the injunction before judicial review has been completed," Apple told the 9th Circuit Court. "The undisputed evidence establishes that the injunction will limit Apple's ability to protect users from fraud, scams, malware, spyware, and objectionable content."
In many ways, Epic’s case against Apple is something of a flagship case, and Apple is perhaps right to be concerned regarding the loss of profit it faces, Plus they'll be seeking to combat the rise of alternative app stores as more app developers sell their products on third party app stores in an attempt to maintain their own profitability. In fact, the company’s latest financial forces suggests that the company is increasingly reliant on service revenue due to middling hardware sales. However, the company’s refusal to compromise, and its repeated attempts to maintain the status quo, have only pushed more developers elsewhere.