Apple's Epic Games lawsuit won't be heard in the Supreme Court — Fortnite maker loses out but Apple will have to allow one big App Store change

iPhone 14 with the App Store
(Image credit: Future)

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeals of both Epic Games and Apple in the pair's long-running App Store feud, meaning an appeals court ruling will stand against Apple. 

As reported by Bloomberg, Supreme Court justices “turned down both appeals without explanation.” Bloomberg notes the decision “will likely affect billions of dollars in revenue” for Apple, and shares have dipped in the early trading following the news. However, the news is as much of a loss, if not more, for Epic Games. The original court in the case ruled against the Fortnite maker on nine out of the 10 counts and ruled against Apple on only one count. As such, Epic Games stood to gain a lot more from any such appeal. 

As it stands, it means an appeals court decision to uphold the original court ruling will come into effect. This change will prevent Apple from stopping developers from diverting customers away from the App Store to other locations in order to make payments.

A key example is Spotify, which doesn’t currently let iPhone users pay for the service via the App Store, because Apple would take a 30% cut of the payments. However, Spotify is also currently prevented from offering users a link to its website so that they can make payments outside the App Store — a practice this court ruling will put an end to. 

The end of an App Store era

It seems this could be the end of the Epic Games versus Apple saga, which has gone on for nearly four years. It’s been a long time since Epic Games willfully broke Apple’s App Store rules, released its nineteen-eighty Fortnite video, and then filed a massive lawsuit against Apple. At the time, Epic claimed Apple was a monopolist with unfair control over the distribution of and payment for apps on iOS —, however, the court rejected nearly all of its claims. 

Like Epic, Apple has tried to fight the rulings handed down in the case, despite coming out significantly better off than Epic Games and many others expected. The Supreme Court's rejection this week should mark the final effort in fighting the measures.

As noted, the move will in theory deprive Apple of some of the revenues of its App Store, although it’s important not to overstate the move. Many of the largest services affected, like the aforementioned Spotify and Amazon’s Kindle platform, have already “withdrawn” their subscriptions from the App Store so haven’t paid any kind of revenue to Apple for years. 

App Store changes aside, this could also be the final nail in the coffin for Fortnite on the iPhone and iPad through Apple’s App Store, unless Epic Games chooses to bring back the game.  

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9