There’s no outcome yet announced for Epic Games’ battle with Apple in the United States. But the Australian Federal Court just handed a victory (of sorts) to the Fornite maker: giving it permission to proceed with its fight with Apple in Oz.
The lawsuit alleges that Apple is abusing its position in the marketplace by not allowing companies to distribute their apps on iOS outside the App Store. Epic’s efforts to battle Apple in Australia temporarily halted earlier this year due to a jurisdiction clauses stopping Australian lawsuits from proceeding if a similar case is being heard elsewhere in the world. The judge said they wanted to see what the US case would conclude before continue.
However, three Federal Court judges have ruled that it can continue — since it involves conduct in the Australian market that is of importance to the public.
“The focus should not only be on the nature of competition law, but the significance of the statutory provisions which allow the Commission to intervene, private parties to get the benefit of factual findings and admission, and the relevance of the Federal Court being chosen by the legislature as the court of its choice,” the judges wrote.
Epic vs. Apple
The Apple vs. Epic battle commenced in August 2020. The inciting incident was Epic introducing a way for Fortnite players to circumvent the App Store to buy in-app purchases. This deprived Apple of its 30% commission. Apple immediately decided to boot Fortnite from the App Store. Epic responded with a lawsuit taking aim at Apple for its allegedly monopolistic behavior. Things haven’t calmed down since then.
Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, says that: “The 30% [Apple] charge as their app tax, they can make it 50% or 90% or 100%. Under their theory of how these markets are structured, they have every right to do that. Epic is not asking any court or regulator to change this 30% to some other number. Only to restore competition on iOS.”
Apple has, meanwhile, argued that: “Epic’s lawsuit is nothing more than a basic disagreement over money.”
The spat between the two companies has spilled out around the world. In addition to a US trial, which included testimony from Tim Cook, there have been additional lawsuits in the EU and UK. As well as Australia, of course. No verdict has yet been announced.