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Fortnite is one step closer to returning to iOS after Apple lawsuit win
Apple and Epic's legal battle moves one step ahead
Apple has won an appeal in an antitrust challenge brought by Epic Games over the tech giant’s App Store fees, paving the way for Fortnite’s return to iOS platforms.
As reported by Bloomberg, a US court of appeals has upheld a 2021 ruling that rejected Epic’s claims that Apple violated federal law by banning competing marketplaces from appearing on its iOS platforms.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Apple-Epic lawsuit
🍏 Apple has won an appeal in its ongoing legal battle with Epic Games
👩⚖️ A US court has rejected Epic’s claims against Apple’s App Store policies
⚖ It upholds a decision made by a court last year
📱 It could pave the way for Fortnite’s return to iOS platforms
It brings to close yet another chapter of a legal battle that’s been running since 2020, when Epic – best known as the developer of Fortnite – tried to bypass Apple’s 30% commission on all in-app purchases made through the Apple App Store.
After Epic introduced a direct payment system in the Fortnite iOS app that deliberately dodged the fee, Apple removed the game from the App Store and terminated Epic’s developer account. Epic then filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple claiming it had an anti-competitive grip on the platform, a year after which a US judge ruled against Epic in nine of its 10 claims.
Both companies appealed the decision, which has now been upheld by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The one claim for which the court sided with Epic will stop Apple from blocking developers linking to alternative, external payment options that let users pay for services without Apple taking a cut.
"There is a lively and important debate about the role played in our economy and democracy by online transaction platforms with market power,” the appeals panel said.
"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.”
Fortnite is yet to return to iOS platforms, with Apple previously suggesting it would not consider reinstating Epic’s developer account access until the companies’ legal battle was completed. The ruling on this appeal is one step on that road.
Epic only recently ran afoul of the law in another case. The publisher paid $245 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission last year after it alleged Fortnite’s payment setup was so confusing that millions of players were charged for in-game purchases they didn’t want to make.
“Epic made it difficult or impossible to cancel charges, and if you tried to dispute a charge with your credit card company, you might have found yourself unexpectedly and permanently locked out of Fortnite,” the FTC said at the time.
“Thanks to a settlement with the FTC, Epic now has to make sure players and parents confirm purchases. They can’t lock you out of the game for disputing charges. And Epic also has to pay $245 million to those they unfairly charged or locked out of a Fortnite account.”
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