As the legal war over Fortnite continues, the Supreme Court has denied the publisher, Epic Games‘, plea to force Apple to relax its App Store guidelines. Justice Elena Kagan, as reported first by Bloomberg and Reuters, refused to lift a stay on a lower court judgement concerning Apple’s anti-steering regulations, which restrict the ways in which iOS app developers can lead customers to alternative payment methods. Kagan did not provide a reason for the judgement, but the Supreme Court’s website reflected the denial of Epic’s petition.
Epic has requested that the most recent decision from the federal appeals court be allowed to stand while the matter was contested at the Supreme Court, but this request was denied.
If approved, developers would have been able to avoid Apple’s 15-30% cut on in-app sales and subscriptions made through the App Store by providing their own payment links and buttons within their products.
Despite Apple’s success in the lower courts, the company is still fighting the antitrust ruling because of the laws governing in-app purchases. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that found in favour of Epic under California’s Unfair Competition Law. Apple’s authority to implement “anti-steering” regulations for the App Store, which prevent developers from promoting payment methods other than Apple’s own, would have been affected by this judgement.
Despite its ongoing legal struggle, Epic naturally wanted the verdict to stand. The court, unsurprisingly, ruled in the negative. Apple had already had a motion approved that put the appeals court verdict on hold for 90 days while it appealed to the Supreme Court.