A Fortnite player staring at a tornado (representing Epic vs Apple)

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35 US States Back Epic In Ongoing Epic Vs Apple Antitrust Case

January 28, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

The Epic vs Apple antitrust case is showing no signs of slowing down. After a judge ruled in favor of Apple and claimed its iOS App Store didn't constitute a mobile monopoly, 35 US states have become involved in support of Epic, claiming that ruling is flawed and should be reversed.

What is this latest Epic vs Apple development?

Back in September last year, a US judge ruled that Apple's iOS mobile dominance didn't constitute a violation of antitrust laws. Naturally, Epic filed an appeal against that decision. Now, as Bloomberg reports (note: paywall), the attorneys general of 35 US states have filed arguments in support of Epic's appeal, claiming that the judge's September ruling was based on flawed analysis and ought to be reversed. 

 

A gameplay shot of battle royale shooter Fortnite, which is at the core of the Epic vs Apple case
Battle royale shooter Fortnite kicked off the whole Epic vs Apple antitrust case back in August 2020.

The original ruling was given in May by California's Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. In her ruling, she dismissed Epic's claims that Apple's iOS dominance constitutes a monopoly. However, the US attorneys general disagree. They're saying that Apple's "supracompetitive profits" constitute "immense harm to consumers". The US Department of Justice is now also involved; it says Gonzalez Rogers misapplied two provisions of a key antitrust law pillar (the Sherman Act), and that doing so would narrow the definition of antitrust law to an unacceptable degree. It looks like this Epic vs Apple case is only going to get more fiercely competitive as time goes on.

Epic vs Apple: a brief timeline

Back in 2020, Epic introduced a major discount program in Fortnite on iOS and Android, simultaneously introducing a direct payment system known as "Epic Direct Payment". Apple subsequently removed Fortnite from its App Store, claiming a breach of terms and conditions, to which Epic replied by filing legal papers alleging a monopoly on Apple's behalf. It's not just Apple, either; Epic also sued Google for similar reasons after the tech giant removed Fortnite from its own Play Store.

 
 
Two players firing guns in Fortnite
When Epic tried to introduce direct payments to Fortnite, Apple forced the app to be removed from the App Store, triggering lawsuits.

Everything that's happened since then is effectively a tug-of-war between Epic and Apple. In September, Epic asked Apple to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store, claiming it would adhere to Apple's guidelines going forward. However, this bid was rejected, with Apple's lawyer citing what he describes as Epic's "duplicitous conduct" and "misrepresentations" when explaining why Apple won't be reinstating Epic's developer account on the App Store. Apple also recently managed to win a reprieve when a judge granted a stay on orders that would mandate changes intended to add third-party payments to the App Store. This fight isn't going away anytime soon. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.

Do you think Fortnite should be reinstated on the App Store? Let us know in the comments below!