In brief: Epic Games over the weekend filed an appeal to the recent ruling in its case against Apple. While that ruling sided with Apple on almost all counts, it didn’t leave Epic entirely empty-handed, nor did it shut the door on Epic’s claims going forward.
The appeal doesn’t list any details as to why Epic is filing it, only that it’s appealing the final decisions of the case to a higher court. It’s clear, however, that Epic didn’t get nearly everything it wanted, so this appeal was expected.
On the day of the ruling, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter that it wasn’t a win for small developers. The next day he considered the case a loss. “Today: Lost a court case, climbed a mountain, read hundreds of pages of legal papers, wrote some code,” he said. “Just as determined as ever to fight on until there is genuine developer and consumer freedom in software, and fair competition in each mobile platform software component.”
Today: Lost a court case, climbed a mountain, read hundreds of pages of legal papers, wrote some code. Just as determined as ever to fight on until there is genuine developer and consumer freedom in software, and fair competition in each mobile platform software component. pic.twitter.com/5PWD6va6mz
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 11, 2021
The September 10 ruling included an injunction saying Apple could no longer stop developers on its iOS App Store from telling consumers about alternate payment options that don’t go through Apple’s payment system, thus cutting Apple out of the 30 percent of developer revenue it usually collects.
However, the judge of that case also said Epic hadn’t provided enough proof for its claim that Apple’s behavior was monopolistic. It also ordered Epic to pay Apple millions for directing Fortnite players on iOS to make in-game purchases outside Apple’s payment system last year, which is what first launched the case.
While the judge said Apple isn’t a monopoly right now, she did admit it may be on the way to becoming one. “The evidence does suggest that Apple is near the precipice of substantial market power, or monopoly power, with its considerable market share,” wrote Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers in the ruling. “Apple is only saved by the fact that its share is not higher, that competitors from related submarkets are making inroads into the mobile gaming submarket, and, perhaps, because plaintiff did not focus on this topic.”
Epic claimed Apple’s platform represented a market in itself in which Apple held monopoly power. The ruling determined that iOS is simply part of a larger market of digital purchase commissions encompassing all mobile platforms. Nonetheless, this may leave the door open for another court in the future to label Apple’s behavior monopolistic.