The antitrust battle between Epic Games and Apple resumes today in the appeals court

Apple’s antitrust battle against Fortnite maker Epic Games is back in the courtroom after this both countries is appealing last year’s ruling in a precedent-setting case over Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behavior. Last year, a US District Court judge largely ruled in Apple’s favor when he ruled that the tech giant was not acting as a monopoly over its App Store practices. Epic Games wasn’t happy with this decision, of course, as they wanted the court to force Apple to support third-party payments, which would allow Fortnite to maximize its revenue. Meanwhile, Apple did not want to agree to the court’s order that it would have to allow apps that provide links to alternative payments.

Oral arguments will begin this afternoon in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a trial with even higher stakes to determine Apple’s future in the app market and its ability to set its own rules about payments and commissions.

While the original case was already one of the most high-profile examples of the court system challenging Apple’s market power, the appeals case will bring further scrutiny as the US Department of Justice and the state of California have now been given time to present their own arguments , to help explain the proper legal framework for evaluating antitrust claims against Apple.

While the Justice Department’s arguments technically won’t support either side, it is in the early stages of filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple — and the appeals court’s decision in the Epic Games case could ultimately shape its own ability to prosecute effectively Apple further down the road.

The DoJ’s statement explained that it had concerns about how the lower court interpreted parts of the US antitrust law — the Sherman Act — too narrowly, as well as other issues related to the lower court’s misunderstanding of the market and Apple’s monopoly power over pricing. , among other things.

The appeals court docket is also filled with numerous amicus briefs challenging the original decision.

These include documents from prominent Apple critics such as Tile, Match, Basecamp and the lobby group Coalition for App Fairness, as well as from other technology companies and game store operators such as Roblox and Microsoft, various consumer advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation Consumer Federation of America, etc. Additional, 35 US Attorneys General have filed in support of Epic Games.

Epic Games originally sued Apple in 2020 after Apple banned the company’s Fortnite app for performance of a new payment mechanism that allows it to bypass Apple’s in-app purchase framework. That set the stage for the antitrust case, a battle that had been simmering for years.

Despite the judge’s declaration that Apple is not acting as a monopolist, the Cupertino-based tech giant appealed the ruling because it has lost ground in a key area in terms of what rules it can make for its App Store. In the original ruling, a federal judge ruled that Apple he could no longer forbid developers not to specify other means of payment outside of Apple’s own payment system. An apple he was later granted a stay of the injunction that would force it to comply by December 9, 2021, by updating its App Store policies as the case is on appeal.

Epic Games had also appealed the original ruling, after wanting a solution that would allow the company an alternative means of serving its iOS user base, such as a third-party app store, sideloading, or third-party payment systems. In the coming months, Apple has been waging a crusade against the dangers of sideloading with top performers like CEO Tim Cook and Head of Software Engineering Craig Federighi highlighting the security compromises that sideloading involves. (However, this is not only due to pressure from Epic Games, but also because The EU Digital Markets Act may enforce the method.)

Epic’s lawyer Tom Goldstein will begin today’s proceedings with his oral arguments in the appeal case presented before Judges Sidney R. Thomas, Milan D. Smith Jr. and Michael J. McShane, starting at 2:00 PM PT/5:00 PM ET.

The hearing will to stream live on YouTube.

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