Supreme Court Ruling Allows Apple To Keep Charging 30% App Store Fee, For Now

The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday against Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, in its legal clash with Apple. Justice Elena Kagan refused to enforce a federal judge’s order that could compel Apple to alter its payment practices within its App Store. Reuters was first to report.

Kagan, representing the Supreme Court, denied Epic’s appeal to lift a verdict from the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, effectively postponing the implementation of an injunction issued by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. This injunction had halted specific App Store regulations as Apple pursues an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit had previously validated the injunction in April, but in July, the Court suspended the enforcement. Kagan is responsible for urgent matters within the Supreme Court originating from a coalition of states, including California.

Epic had initiated an antitrust lawsuit in 2020, accusing Apple of being an illegal monopolist by demanding users acquire apps solely through its App Store and purchase digital content within an app using Apple’s system, incurring fees that can amount to 30% commission.

In 2021, Rogers dismissed Epic’s antitrust allegations against Apple but determined that Apple had breached California’s law on unfair competition by preventing developers from steering users towards alternate methods of purchasing digital content, potentially saving users money.

Rogers’ injunction mandated Apple to permit app developers to include links and buttons that redirect users to other payment avenues for digital content within their apps.

Apple, preparing an appeal to the Supreme Court, sought to halt the injunction’s enforcement, asserting Rogers had misjudged the scope of its rules by applying them to all U.S. app developers, not solely Epic.

According to Apple’s statement to the 9th Circuit, “Apple will be required to change its business model to comply with the injunction before judicial review has been completed. The undisputed evidence establishes that the injunction will limit Apple’s ability to protect users.”

Epic argued before the Supreme Court that the 9th Circuit’s criteria for delaying cases were “far too lenient.”

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