In an ongoing clash between Apple Inc. and Fortnite developer Epic Games, the tech giant is attempting to overturn a ruling made by the US District Court of California in 2021, which targeted Apple’s anti-steering practices. The case has stirred up significant discussions around the competition practices of big tech firms.

The Backstory

In August 2020, Epic Games instigated legal action against Apple, resulting from the latter’s decision to terminate Epic’s Fortnite developer account. This event prohibited Fortnite, a popular battle royale game, from distribution on Apple’s devices. This action was taken by Apple following Epic’s deliberate avoidance of the App Store’s payment mechanisms within its Fortnite iOS app, thereby sidestepping Apple’s 30% platform fees. Epic’s violation led to Apple’s removal of Fortnite from its App Store, sparking a legal dispute.

The Initial Ruling

By 2021, the case reached its climax, with California’s Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers rejecting nine out of Epic’s ten claims. However, the court ruled in Epic’s favor regarding one crucial point: Apple’s inability to block developers from guiding users towards alternative payment methods within their apps also referred to as “anti-steering.”

The Appeal Process

After the court’s decision, Apple and Epic filed an appeal with the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, striving to overturn the original ruling. This endeavor, however, proved unsuccessful. Both companies again moved to appeal the secondary verdict, but according to Reuters, this was dismissed on June 30. Following these setbacks, Apple has now turned to the US Supreme Court, seeking to prevent the ban on its anti-steering practices.

Apple’s Argument

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, Apple posits that the Ninth Circuit erred in applying an injunction against its anti-steering rules that encompassed all iOS developers when Epic was the only plaintiff. The company also argues that a nationwide injunction is inappropriate given that the case’s roots lie in California. By extending this order beyond the state, Apple contends that it prompts “far-reaching and important questions” regarding the boundaries of a federal court’s power. Epic, in the meantime, hasn’t appealed to the Supreme Court but retains the option to do so.

International Implications

This litigation involving Apple’s anti-steering practices isn’t confined to the US. There is an ongoing confrontation with EU antitrust regulators, spurred by a complaint from music-streaming service Spotify, alleging that Apple’s anti-steering rules violate EU laws forbidding unfair trading practices. In response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, Apple is expected to implement sideloading in this year’s iOS 17, which could offer Epic a pathway for Fortnite’s return.

Consequences for the Future of App Stores

The lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games not only signifies a confrontation between two titans in the technology industry but also brings into question the future dynamics of app stores and their revenue models. For quite some time, Apple’s 30% levy on transactions in its App Store has been a bone of contention among application developers. If Epic Games emerges victorious in this legal skirmish, it may pave the way for other companies to challenge similar fees. As a result, Apple – along with other organizations managing app stores – might be compelled to reassess their business strategies and possibly reduce their charges.

Comprehending Anti-Steering Policies

The crux of this controversy lies in Apple’s anti-steering rule. This regulation prevents app creators from directing consumers toward payment routes external to Apple’s internal in-app transaction system. This practice ensures that Apple secures its 30% commission on all transactions carried out. If the US Supreme Court endorses the lower court’s judgment causing Apple to modify its anti-steering guidelines, it could potentially disrupt transaction processing within the App Store, subsequently influencing Apple’s revenues generated via application sales and in-app purchases.

Affecting Consumer Experiences

This lawsuit could lead to noticeable alterations for customers too. Should app developers win the right to guide consumers towards paying through channels outside of App Stores, users may have access to an expanded selection of payment methods at potentially reduced prices since developers can avoid dispensing fees charged by Apple. However, there are potential disadvantages as well. Critics contend that having an integrated purchase system within apps – like that offered by Apple – guarantees a smooth and safe experience for users; diverting them towards external methods might overcomplicate interactions and potentially make them vulnerable to heightened security threats.

Stay Updated

To receive continuous updates regarding tech-related news, including ongoing happenings surrounding the legal tug-of-war between Apple-Epic Games, monitor top-rated sources offering regular coverage like They provide microscopic assessments related to ongoing judicial cases concerning technology companies. For a comprehensive overview of the legal dispute between Epic and Apple, visit, which offers extensive coverage of the original court case and updates on the continuing legal battle.


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