Supreme Court rules in Apple’s favor in ongoing Epic dispute over App Store rules.

Supreme Court rules in Apple's favor in ongoing Epic dispute over App Store rules.

Apple Wins Temporary Victory in Legal Battle with Epic Games

App Store

In the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Apple, allowing the tech giant to maintain its “anti-steering” rules in the App Store. This decision comes as a temporary victory for Apple, providing a slight breather while the Supreme Court considers their appeal against the rule changes that were previously mandated.

The “anti-steering” rules enforced by Apple prohibit developers from directing customers to make purchases for digital goods outside of the App Store. However, in the Epic vs. Apple case that dates back to 2020, the judge ruled that Apple should revise its App Store rules to allow developers to direct users to alternate payment mechanisms outside of the platform. This verdict was seen as a potential game-changer that could pave the way for new payment methods within the App Store ecosystem.

Despite the ruling, Apple was able to delay implementing the changes thanks to a series of appeals. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in April 2023, upheld the previous decision, keeping the rule change mandate in place. Feeling compelled to fight back, Apple requested the Supreme Court to hear the case and ultimately decide on the fate of the App Store rules.

While Apple is yet to file its appeal with the Supreme Court, Epic Games made a desperate emergency appeal to U.S. Supreme Court Judge Elena Kagan, urging Apple to implement the anti-steering rule changes immediately. However, Kagan ruled against Epic Games, further diminishing their chances of success in this legal battle.

As a result of the latest ruling, Apple can temporarily avoid making any adjustments to the App Store rules. However, the tech giant still needs to file its appeal with the Supreme Court, and there’s a possibility that the court may decide against hearing the case. If this happens, Apple will be required to implement the rule changes promptly, as the decision of the lower court would then stand.

Apple’s argument against changing the App Store rules revolves around the concern that doing so would disrupt the delicate balance between developers and customers that the App Store provides, potentially causing irreparable harm to both Apple and consumers. This line of argument has likely played a role in the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Apple to keep the rules intact while the case is being considered.

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In conclusion, Apple has emerged with a temporary victory in its ongoing legal battle with Epic Games, as the U.S. Supreme Court has granted the company the right to maintain its “anti-steering” rules in the App Store. Although this ruling provides some relief for Apple, the final outcome still depends on the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case. Meanwhile, developers and consumers continue to watch closely as the future of the App Store hangs in the balance.