SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Anti-trust Case

( – The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Apple to reverse the 2023 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a District Court Judge’s ruling that found some of its App Store policies violated unfair competition laws in California, the Associated Press reported.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal clears the way for a lower court’s injunction to take effect which could cost Apple billions.

The justices also rejected Fortnite maker Epic Games’ appeal of a lower court’s ruling rejecting Epic’s claim that Apple’s App Store policies violated federal antitrust laws.

Epic Games filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2020, accusing Apple of acting as a monopoly by requiring Apple users to purchase apps through the App Store from which the tech giant charges a 30 percent commission.

In 2021, a US District Judge rejected Epic’s antitrust claims but found that Apple violated an unfair competition law in California by preventing developers from bypassing Apple’s App Store for digital purchases.

The judge imposed an injunction requiring Apple to allow developers to include links and buttons directing customers to alternative ways to purchase digital content. This would make it easier for app developers to avoid paying the commission Apple charges on sales from its App Store.

In April 2023, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district judge’s decision, finding that Epic Games “failed to prove the existence of substantially less restrictive alternatives.”

In appealing to the Supreme Court, Epic Games argued that the 9th Circuit’s ruling would guarantee “severe anticompetitive harm” while insulating “monopolistic tech-platform practices from antitrust scrutiny.”

Apple argued in its appeal to the Court that Epic Games had not filed a class-action lawsuit and the 2021 injunction imposed by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers exceeded the court’s constitutional authority.

The commissions from App Store sales accounted for $85 billion in revenue for Apple in the last fiscal year. The looming possibility that customers can purchase digital content outside of the app store is part of the reason Apple’s stock already fell by 5 percent this year.

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