Epic Games Says Apple Should Be Held In Contempt Of Court

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Epic Games has requested a federal judge hold Apple in contempt of court, after the company allegedly failed to comply with a court order requiring Apple’s App Store to link to outside payment options, according to a court filing Wednesday, the latest contention between the two companies amid a yearslong legal dispute.

Key Facts

Epic Games requested U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers hold Apple in contempt of court and order the company to fully comply with a 2021 ruling, according to a filing with the court in Oakland, California.

Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, alleges Apple made links to alternative payment options “commercially unusable” because the company imposed new guidelines and a 27% fee for developers on some purchases.

Apple’s guidelines include new language discouraging users from using purchasing options outside the iOS system, Epic Games alleges, in addition to new rules prohibiting developers from creating external links to alternative payment methods.

Apple filed a compliance notice on Jan. 16 indicating the company was regulating external links to “protect user privacy and security,” while maintaining “the integrity of Apple’s ecosystem.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What To Watch For

Apple has until April 3 to file a formal response to Epic Games’ request, according to Reuters.

Crucial Quote

Epic Games claimed Apple’s “so-called compliance is a sham,” adding the company’s goal is “to prevent purchasing alternatives from constraining the supracompetitive fees it collects on purchases of digital goods and services.”

Key Background

Epic Games sued Apple in 2020, alleging the company was maintaining a monopoly and stifling competition by banning third-party apps and game marketplaces on iOS devices. In 2021, Rogers ruled Apple did not hold a monopoly on mobile gaming, though it was not legally allowed to prohibit third-party app marketplaces and charge a 30% commission within its marketplace. Rogers also ruled Apple violated California state laws on unfair competition, after Apple prohibited app developers from advertising alternative methods to pay for services. The Supreme Court refused to consider Apple’s appeal in January, requiring the company to allow alternative in-app payment options.

Further Reading

Supreme Court Denies Review Of Apple And Epic Games Antitrust Appeals (Forbes)

Apple Reverses Termination Of Epic Games’ Developer Account Days After Removing It (Forbes)

Apple Terminates Epic Games’ Developer Account—Claiming Fortnite Maker Is ‘Untrustworthy’ (Forbes)

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