As expected, Apple is making a last-ditch effort to get the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling that would force it to open up its App Store to third-party payments. The iPhone maker filed a petition with the Court Thursday, arguing that the lower court injunction was “breathtakingly broad” and “unconstitutional.”
It’s the latest beat in a long-simmering feud between Cupertino and the Fortnite developer that’s seen both sides ask the Supreme Court to reverse parts of a lower court ruling. But Apple's latest petition could have far-reaching consequences for all developers, should the Supreme Court decide to take up the case.
That’s because Apple is asking the Supreme Court to reverse an injunction that would require the company to allow app developers to offer payments that circumvent its App Store, and the fees associated with it. Such a move would be a major blow to the App Store’s business, which has used the rule to maintain strict control over in-app payments.
The rule, often referred to as an “anti-steering” policy, has long been controversial and a major gripe for developers. It not only prohibits app makers from providing links to web-based payments, it bars them from even telling their customers that a cheaper rate was available somewhere else.
Fortnite developer Epic made the issue a central part of its antitrust lawsuit against Apple in 2020, and the judge in the case ruled in Epic’s favor on the issue in 2021. Apple has spent the last two years fighting that part of the ruling.
Separately, Epic has also asked the Supreme Court to reconsider part of the lower court’s ruling in its bid to keep its antitrust claims against Apple alive.