Offers to reverse the Apple App Store antitrust decision were denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

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Annulment of the Apple App Store decision

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Photo credit: Sergey Galyonkin / CC from 2.0

Apple and Epic Games failed to persuade the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling in an antitrust lawsuit involving Apple’s App Store.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s April ruling in a high-profile antitrust lawsuit over Apple’s operation of its app store was a partial victory for both Apple and Epic Games, developers of the popular game Fortnite. But both companies failed on Friday to persuade the court to reconsider its findings.

The Court said Apple must allow app developers to direct users to alternative payment options — but it blocked Epic’s push to force Apple to allow third-party app marketplaces on its operating system. Additionally, the appeals court overturned a lower court’s decision that Epic was not required to pay Apple’s legal fees after it sued the tech giant.

The Ninth Circuit denied Hearing requests from both companies without justification; Should Apple or Epic decide to pursue further litigation, the next step would be to petition the US Supreme Court.

Apple’s retrial petition argued that the court’s decision would prevent the company from “using any of its security and privacy tools and thereby competing with other platforms.”

“The unchallenged evidence in court showed that virtually every online platform has implemented anti-steering (or anti-circumvention) rules similar to Apple’s,” the company argued.

Meanwhile, Epic argued in its petition that Apple was “blocking the development of more innovative and higher-quality app stores and payment solutions — including those that would provide greater privacy and security — and reducing its investments in its own products.”

The panel unanimously denied both requests for a rehearing. Additionally, Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. voted to deny the motions for a rehearing en banc (with the full Court of Appeals considering the case), along with Judge Sidney R. Thomas and Oregon District Judge Michael J. McShane.