Apple claims victory over Epic Games in court appeal

Apple has won its long-standing legal battle with Epic Games, the developer of popular online multiplayer game ‘Fortnite.’ An appeals court sided with the technology giant on nine out of 10 claims, with an Apple spokesperson telling CNBC, “Today’s decision reaffirms Apple’s resounding victory in this case”. The ruling upheld an earlier decision that a year and a half ago concluded that California courts could not prove that Apple was engaging in monopolistic behaviour under federal or state laws. However, it did show that “Apple is engaging in anticompetitive conduct under California’s competition laws”.

Legal Case History

The Initial Ruling

The initial ruling pertaining to the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games came in about a year and a half ago. California courts concluded that they could not prove that Apple was engaging in monopolistic behaviour under federal or state laws; however, it did show that “Apple is engaging in anticompetitive conduct under California’s competition laws,” according to the ruling. Epic was ordered to pay out for breaking Apple’s rules, but the judge ruled that Apple must allow alternative payments on the App Store, meaning that developers like Epic – whose games are currently not allowed in either Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store – can place links inside their apps to allow users to make purchases outside of the App Store.

The Latest Ruling

Apple has come out on top once again, with the appeals court siding with Apple on nine out of 10 claims in the legal battle against Epic Games. Apple was found to be abiding by antitrust laws at state and federal levels, according to an Apple spokesperson. However, the court sided with Epic Games on one count, which upheld the ruling from the earlier decision.

Developers Can Use Links to Payment Method Outside of App Store

The latest decision has brought some relief to companies like Epic Games, as the court has ruled that Apple must allow developers to include links to methods of payment outside of the App Store. This will allow users to make purchases through those links, making payments for games easier. However, other reports suggest that Apple may not be forced to allow outside payments in those apps and that it will be decided by potential future hearings.

The Way Forward for Epic Games

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney’s Take on the Latest Ruling

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted, “Apple prevailed at the 9th Circuit Court. Though the court upheld the ruling that Apple’s restraints have ‘a substantial anticompetitive effect that harms consumers,’ they found we didn’t prove our Sherman Act case.” He continued, “Fortunately, the court’s positive decision rejecting Apple’s anti-steering provisions frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there. We’re working on next steps.”

The Future of Fortnite

The future of Fortnite remains unclear, as Epic Games is effectively banned from the App Store until all litigation is complete. Even then, it’s up to Apple and Epic to reconcile if the game is ever to return to the App Store. Sweeney seemed confident ahead of the new year that that would be possible, tweeting, “Next year on iOS!”

The Metaverse and the Relationship with Apple

Sweeney also commented on Apple’s role in the Metaverse, a term used to describe the future of the internet, where all virtual and non-virtual spaces will have an eventual connection. He believes that Apple may either try to crush the Metaverse or extract all the profit from it since they would have an unstoppable reach. Therefore, it is unclear when the necessary reconciliation between Epic and Apple will happen, and Fortnite’s future is uncertain.


Despite Epic’s efforts and the court finding Apple’s business practices of having a substantial anticompetitive effect that harms consumers, Apple has still managed to come out on top in its legal battle with Epic Games. The ruling has partially favoured developers, as they can now include links to alternative payment systems, allowing users to purchase games outside of the App Store. As Fortnite’s future remains undecided, it will be interesting to see how this legal battle affects Apple’s business model in the future.


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