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Tuesday, January 31 2023

Epic Games files appeal over last week’s Apple antitrust ruling

Epic Games files appeal over Apple antitrust ruling
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San Francisco: Epic Games files appeal against the ruling in its case against Apple. The firm said that it will take the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

“Notice is hereby given that Epic Games Inc. appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This from the final Judgment entered on September 10, 2021,” the appeal document stated, reported.

Epic’s “Fortnite” was removed from Apple’s App Store in South Korea last year. The game maker had introduced its own direct payment system to circumvent Apple’s commissions.

According to Apple, Epic has refused to comply with its App Store review guidelines. The iPhone maker also maintains that the new law in South Korea, which is expected to take effect sometime next week, would not obligate Apple to approve any developer account, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Last Friday, US district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers had created ripples worldwide. It agreed that Apple is forcing folks to pay for apps and in-app items through its App Store. Then it usually takes a 30 per cent slice of the payment as commission.

Rogers famously grilled Apple chief Tim Cook for four hours earlier this year. She told the company to ease up and let in other payment options within 90 days.

Epic, meanwhile, has been violating Apple’s rules and allowing customers to buy credits for its popular game, Fortnite, through its own system on a 30 per cent discount (because there is no Apple levy involved).

This, in effect, challenges Apple to kick it out. Here the judge has ruled that Epic is in breach of contract on $12 million of revenue. So, as the judge said, Epic owes Apple 30 per cent of that amount, as per the terms of its contract.

Epic has a “Project Liberty” PR blitz, including a #FreeFortnite hashtag and a video mocking a famous Apple ad from 1984. Unless revised by the appeals court, Friday’s ruling means the bill for this PR and hashtag will be $3.6 million.

The “split decision” includes Apple’s justification of the commission. Here, the judge has said that “the 30 per cent is not tied to anything in particular and can be changed”, without specifically ordering Apple to do so.

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