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Apple Appeals to Supreme Court for Reversal in ‘Fortnite’ Case Ruling

Three years after Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple over its in-app payment policies on the App Store, Apple is now seeking the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a recent ruling. This ruling allows developers to include links and buttons within their apps that direct users to payment options outside of Apple’s ecosystem.

As reported by Reuters, Apple has stated in a court filing that it intends to “petition the justices to review the decision made by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the majority of the order issued in 2021 by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.”

Although Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled partially in favor of Apple, stating that the company cannot prohibit developers from including links or buttons to inform users about alternative purchasing options, the Cupertino firm is now seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court. This move would buy Apple more time to comply with the order, but it would also mark a final decision, as neither Epic Games nor Apple would have the ability to appeal further.

The legal battle between Epic Games and Apple has been characterized as one of the most peculiar disputes among major tech companies. Epic’s CEO initiated a campaign to challenge the requirement for developers to pay Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases. However, it is worth noting that this crusade arose primarily because Apple did not offer Epic Games a special agreement allowing them to pay a reduced fee for in-app purchases in Fortnite.

While there is a possibility of Apple securing another favorable ruling, it’s important to acknowledge the changes the company has implemented over the past three years. For instance, Apple has reduced the commission it retains after a user has subscribed to an app for a year. Additionally, it now charges a 15% fee for developers generating less than $1 million annually. Apple has also introduced a program to support the growth of small developers. Certain app categories, like Netflix and Spotify, are allowed to offer subscription options outside the App Store, although they are restricted from actively promoting this alternative to users.

Apple’s argument centers around the notion that users are safer within its ecosystem. While there have been reports of scam apps on the App Store, Apple believes that incorporating its payment options provides a higher level of security compared to external charges. Furthermore, depending on the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, Apple may eventually be compelled to permit users to sideload apps and offer third-party app stores or payment options—a move that is likely to be mandated in Europe.

It’s important to note that Apple’s position and the outcome of the legal proceedings may have significant implications for the company’s policies and practices moving forward.

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