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HomeBusinessTop court declines to hear antitrust challenge to Apple's App Store practices.

Top court declines to hear antitrust challenge to Apple’s App Store practices.

The US Supreme Court avoided taking up Apple’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling ordering modifications to some of the App Store’s profitable policies on Tuesday. Epic Games, the company behind the well-known video game Fortnite, and the iPhone manufacturer have been embroiled in a protracted legal struggle.

The justices also rejected Epic’s appeal of the lower court’s ruling that Apple’s App Store restrictions on software delivery and payment do not violate federal antitrust laws. The judges did not provide a justification for their decision to reject the appeals.

Tuesday’s early trade saw a more than 2% decline in Apple’s shares.

“The court battle to open iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system) to competing stores and payments is lost in the United States,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney stated in a social media post. A depressing result for all developers.

Apple did not answer a request for a comment right away.

2020 saw the filing of an antitrust complaint by Epic, which accused Apple of operating as an illegal monopolist by forcing users to download apps through the App Store and use its proprietary system to purchase digital material contained within apps. For in-app purchases, Apple may take a commission of up to 30%.

Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, a US District Judge, dismissed Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple in 2021. However, the judge determined that Apple had broken California’s law against unfair competition by prohibiting developers from “steering” consumers to make in-app purchases online instead of through Apple’s in-app system, a move Epic claims would have saved them money by lowering commissions.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco concluded that Epic had “failed to prove the existence of substantially less restrictive alternatives” to Apple’s system, which confirmed a significant portion of Rogers’ ruling in 2023.

Apple is required by the judge’s injunction to permit app developers to include buttons and links in their apps that point users to alternative payment options for digital content.

In a social media post, Sweeney stated, “Today, developers can start using their court-established right to inform US customers about lower prices on the internet.”

Epic said in its Supreme Court appeal that the ruling of the 9th Circuit effectively shields the most dominant tech-platform practices from antitrust investigation and ensures serious anticompetitive harm.

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