Apple Urges 9th Circuit To Undo California Ruling In Epic Games Suit

Apple Inc. filed its reply brief in its cross-appeal against Epic Games Inc. arguing that there is nothing wrong with its “anti-steering provisions,” guidelines that supposedly curtail certain freedoms of app developers and limit their communications with app buyers. Apple argues that the district court wrongly decided the California Unfair Competition Law (UCL) issue, remarking that it is the first time a court enjoined conduct it found unfair under the UCL but reasonable under federal antitrust laws.

The case, initially brought by Epic in August 2020, avers that Apple has illegally monopolized the iOS app distribution market, exacting a supracompetitive fee from its third-party developers for the privilege of offering their apps for sale in the Apple App Store. 

Last Thursday’s brief follows an initial appraisal by the Ninth Circuit that considered the trial court’s UCL ruling worth reviewing. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ decision called Apple’s app distribution system a “black box,” and struck down the anti-steering provisions to enhance competition, transparency, and consumer choice and information while preserving Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

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