Home / Technology / Epic Games vs. Apple: Fortnite producer wins appeal in Australia

Epic Games vs. Apple: Fortnite producer wins appeal in Australia

Sarah Tew / CNET

After a series of hearings and trials that lasted almost nine months, Apple and Epic filed their final lawsuits in a U.S. district court in California on May 24. Both companies are now awaiting Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ decision, but that does not mean that the lawsuit is over. Following a successful appeal on Thursday by Epic, the case will soon be brought before an Australian court.

At the heart of the lawsuit is Apple̵

7;s App Store. Epics ultrapopular Fortnite was fired by the iOS App Store in August after Epic built a direct payment system into the game that made it possible to circumvent Apple’s 30% fee for purchasing the App Store. Epic immediately sued Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive practices. Epic claims that the App Store is monopolistic, that developers hoping to get 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 stunt and claims that the App Store gives developers access to a large audience of iPhone and iPad users.

In November, Epic brought the issue to Australia and began negotiations with Apple, claiming that the iPhone manufacturer’s practice violated Australia’s competition and consumer law. Apple managed to appeal the case in April and argued that the case should be decided in the US District Court. Epic quickly appealed, arguing that public order justifies a separate trial. Australia’s federal court ruled in favor of Epic on Thursday.

“This is a positive step forward for Australian consumers and developers who have the right to fair access and competitive prices in mobile app stores,” said a spokesman for Epic. “We look forward to continuing the fight for increased competition in app distribution and payment processing in Australia and around the world.”

Apple plans to appeal the decision.

“The original decision in April by the Australian Federal Court rightly ruled that Epic should abide by the agreement they made to resolve disputes in California. We respectfully disagree with the ruling today and plan to appeal,” a spokesman said.

In addition to the US and Australia, Epic also sued Apple and Google in the UK and EU. A British court in February beat Epic’s case against Apple back, on the grounds that the courts were not the place to settle the case.

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Judge Rogers’ decision is expected to be handed over once in the coming months. The outcome of the US lawsuit could change everything we know about how Apple’s App Store works, and so does Google’s Play Store. Rogers may force Apple to ignore its concerns about app security, and allow alternative app stores and payment processing on its devices. Legal experts, lawmakers and regulators are watching closely, and see the case as a first look at how antitrust laws can apply to tech giants.

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