Apple has filed a petition with the Supreme Court in an effort to reverse a ruling that would require the company to open up its App Store to third-party payments. The petition argues that the lower court injunction is “breathtakingly broad” and unconstitutional. This move is the latest development in an ongoing feud between Apple and Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite. Both sides have asked the Supreme Court to reverse parts of a lower court ruling, and Apple’s petition could have significant implications for all developers if the Court decides to take up the case.
At the heart of the issue is a rule known as the “anti-steering” policy, which prevents app developers from offering links to web-based payments or informing customers about cheaper alternatives. This policy has long been controversial and a major source of frustration for developers. Apple’s App Store business heavily relies on the fees associated with in-app payments, and if the Supreme Court reverses the injunction, it could deal a significant blow to the company’s control over app payments and the App Store’s overall business model.
Epic Games made the “anti-steering” policy a central part of its antitrust lawsuit against Apple in 2020, and the judge ruled in Epic’s favor on this issue in 2021. Since then, Apple has been fighting to overturn this aspect of the ruling. On the other hand, Epic has also asked the Supreme Court to reconsider part of the lower court’s ruling in order to maintain its antitrust claims against Apple. The outcome of this legal battle will have far-reaching implications for the future of app development and the control that platform owners, like Apple, exert over their app marketplaces.