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The US Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals from Apple and Epic Games in the antitrust lawsuit against Apple’s App Store policies. As a result, the lower court ruling, which allows developers to inform iPhone users of alternative payment options beyond Apple’s system, will be enforced.
The lower court had found that Apple’s restrictions on developer communication regarding alternative payment methods violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. This ruling could allow developers to circumvent Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases by directing users to web-based payment processing options within their apps.
While the Supreme Court’s decision avoids directly addressing the broader antitrust concerns raised by Epic Games, it leaves in place a ruling that could have a significant impact on Apple’s App Store revenue. The company has consistently defended its commission structure, arguing that it is necessary to maintain and invest in the App Store platform. However, developers and consumer advocates have criticized the fees, arguing that they stifle competition and inflate consumer prices.
The Supreme Court’s decision will unlikely be the final chapter in this legal battle. Google, facing similar antitrust scrutiny for its Android app store, recently lost a jury trial in which it was found to have violated antitrust laws.
It remains to be seen how the legal landscape and competitive dynamics will ultimately reshape the mobile app market.