As reported by Bloomberg, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower-court judge’s 2021 ruling largely rejecting Epic’s claims that Apple violated federal law by not allowing any competing marketplaces on its iOS platform.
Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker began in August 2020 after it moved to circumvent Apple’s 30% platform fees with a new direct payment option in Fortnite, leading to the game’s removal from the App Store and the termination of Epic’s developer account.
“There is a lively and important debate about the role played in our economy and democracy by online transaction platforms with market power,” the three-judge appeals panel said in the case’s latest ruling.
“Our job as a federal court of appeals, however, is not to resolve that debate — nor could we even attempt to do so. Instead, in this decision, we faithfully applied existing precedent to the facts.”
Following the original ruling, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney wrote to Apple asking it to reactivate the company’s Fortnite developer account and promising to “adhere to Apple’s guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple platforms”.
But Apple rejected the request and said it wouldn’t consider letting Fortnite back on the App Store until its legal battle with Epic was complete.