Sarah Tew / CNET
After a series of hearings and trials that spanned nearly nine months, Apple and Epic made their final submissions to a US District Court in California on May 24.. Both companies are now awaiting the decision of Judge Yvonne González Rogers, but that does not mean that the litigation is over. After a successful appeal Thursday by Epic, the case will soon be taken to at the australian court.
At the center of the legal action is the Apple App Store. Epic’s ultra-popular Fortnite what started the iOS App Store in August, after Epic introduced a direct-to-game payment system that would allow you to avoid Apple’s 30% fee for purchases from the App Store. Epic immediately sued Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive practices. Epic argues that the App Store is monopolistic, that developers hoping to bring their apps to customers have no choice but to go through the App Store and pay the fees associated with it. Apple calls Epic’s lawsuit is a marketing gimmick and argues that the App Store gives developers access to a large audience of iPhone and iPad users.
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In November, Epic brought the issue to Australia, initiating proceedings against Apple arguing that the iPhone maker’s practices contravene Australia’s Consumer and Competition Act. Apple was able to appeal the lawsuit in April, arguing that the case should be resolved in US District Court. Epic quickly countered, arguing that public policy concerns warrant a separate trial. The Australian Federal Court ruled in Epic’s favor on Thursday.
“This is a welcome step for Australian consumers and developers who are entitled to fair access and competitive pricing in mobile app stores,” said an Epic spokesperson. “We look forward to continuing our fight for increased competition in application distribution and payment processing in Australia and around the world.”
Apple plans to appeal the decision.
“The initial decision in April by the Australian Federal Court correctly ruled that Epic should abide by the agreement it made to resolve disputes in California. We respectfully disagree with the decision made today and plan to appeal,” a spokesperson said.
In addition to the US and Australia, Epic is also south of Apple and Google in the UK and the European Union. A UK court in February dropped Epic’s lawsuit against Apple, reasoning that their courts were not the place to solve the problem.
Epic v. Summary of Apple’s test, which follows
Judge Rogers’ decision is expected to be broadcast sometime in the next few months. The outcome of the US lawsuit could change everything we know about how Apple’s App Store works and Google’s Play Store as well. Rogers could force Apple to ignore its app security concerns, allowing alternative app stores and payment processing on its devices. Legal experts, legislators and regulators are watching closely, seeing the case as a first look at how antitrust laws could apply to tech giants.