Epic's taking its Apple App Store payments complaint to the Supreme Court

Fortnite on iPhone
(Image credit: iMore / Pixabay)

Epic Games has asked the United States Supreme Court to take a look at the way Apple manages the App Store. In particular, Epic wants another look at how payments are handled and whether Apple should be able to take a cut of transactions made in apps and games.

This continues a years-long legal battle that began when Epic purposefully circumvented App Store rules by allowing in-game Fortnite payments to be made outside of Apple's App Store. Fortnite was kicked out of the store and hasn't been back since.

A legal battle ensued, with Epic claiming that Apple's 30% cut of payments made via the App Store is unfair, especially considering developers aren't allowed to use their own payment systems instead. Epic already mostly lost out after taking the matter to court, but now it wants the highest court in the land to take a look at the situation.

The Supreme Court request was reported by TechCrunch and comes after Apple mostly won an appeals court battle over the way payments work on the iPhone and iPad. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of a previous decision issued by a federal judge in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that ruled Apple doesn't violate federal antitrust laws with its practices.

However, it wasn't a resounding victory. Epic did win in part, with the judge saying that Apple violates California's Unfair Competition Law by preventing developers from telling customers of alternative ways to pay outside of their apps.

It's likely to be months before we find out whether the Supreme Court has decided to take the case on, but with such a high-profile case all eyes will be on the decision no matter which way it falls.

For now, Fortnite remains unavailable in the iPhone and iPad's App Store. That's more of a shame now than ever, with Apple's best iPhones sporting better gaming performance than ever before thanks to their new A17 Pro chips.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • FFR
    Epic games isn’t doing too well now that they have been kicked off the Apple platform. This doesn’t look like it’s going to end well for epic.

  • FFR
    Plot twist………. epic games is a greedy monopoly according to epics own definition of a monopoly.

  • Just_Me_D
    jassica32 said:
    Epic Games' decision to elevate its Apple App Store payments complaint to the Supreme Court is a bold move that could reshape the digital marketplace. This legal battle has far-reaching implications for app developers and consumers alike, emphasizing the importance of fair competition and app store policies. Monumental case ahead

    What would you consider a fair fee to charge developers who create paid app to use your App Store to sell their apps to the millions of people around the world who have access to your App Store?

    If I’m not mistaken, Apple charges a 30% fee. That fee does not apply to apps that are free. With that being said, if a developer sells an app for $9.99, do you think he or she will lower the price of the app if Apple starts charging them a 10% fee or do you think he or she would keep the price the same and take advantage of the increase in revenue?