Roblox backs Apple in antitrust case, says App Store offers privacy and security

FILE PHOTO: A child looks back at a banner for Roblox, displayed to celebrate the company's IPO, on the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid//File Photo

(Reuters) - Online gaming platform Roblox Corp said on Thursday Apple Inc's App Store offers privacy and safety benefits to its users, supporting the iPhone-maker's bid to beat an appeal by Epic Games in a key U.S. antitrust case.

Epic, known for its "Fortnite" game, largely lost a trial last year over whether Apple's fees and payment rules for app makers were anti-competitive. It appealed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Apple's process for review and approval of apps available on the App Store enhances safety and security, and provides those apps greater legitimacy in the eyes of users," Roblox said in a legal filing on Thursday.

Roblox had played a prominent role in the original trial last year. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is probing key revelations from the antitrust trial between Apple and Epic Games, in which the "Fortnite" maker had argued that Apple had given a free pass to Roblox, whose app lets people pick from a selection of games to play.

An Apple senior director described Roblox's offering as "experiences". Soon after, Roblox changed descriptions on its website to "experiences" from "games" and called itself a metaverse company.

Apple has said its rules promote several benefits for consumers, including increased security and privacy. Two former Central Intelligence Agency directors and 21 other former U.S. national security officials advanced that argument in Apple's support on Thursday.

The appeal hearing is expected next year.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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