Apple denies violating US court order in Epic Games lawsuit


FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with Epic Games logo is seen in front of Apple logo in this illustration taken, May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) - IPhone maker Apple on Friday denied violating a court order governing its App Store and urged a California federal judge to reject a request by “Fortnite” developer Epic Games to hold it in contempt.

Apple made the arguments in a filing to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, who presided over Epic’s lawsuit in 2020 accusing Apple of violating antitrust law with its tight controls over how consumers download apps and pay for transactions within them.

The Apple filing criticized what it called an attempt by Epic to make Apple's "tools and technologies available to developers for free."

Epic, it said, wanted the court "to micromanage Apple’s business operations in a way that would increase Epic’s profitability."

Epic declined to comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the dispute, part of a long fight between the two companies.

Epic largely lost its case against Apple, but Rogers in 2021 ordered Apple to give developers greater freedom to guide app users to alternative payment methods for digital goods.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January declined to hear Apple's appeal of the injunction order.

Epic said in a court filing last month that Cupertino, California-based Apple was in “blatant violation” of the court’s injunction. It pointed to Apple’s imposition of a 27% fee on developers for some purchases, which the video game maker said makes links for alternative payment options "commercially unusable."

Epic also alleged Apple barred some apps from informing users about other ways to pay for goods.

Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Elon Musk’s X and Match Group last month echoed Epic’s arguments, telling Rogers that Apple was in “clear violation” of the court’s order.

In a similar case that Epic brought against Alphabet's Google, a judge in San Francisco is expected this year to issue a separate injunction affecting the Google Play Store.

The case is Epic Games Inc v Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-05640.

(Reporting by Mike Scarcella, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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