The U.S. Supreme Court denied Epic Games’ appeal against Apple, which sought to have the company change its App Store payment options to allow purchases outside of Apple’s own payment system.
As detailed by The Verge, Justice Elena Kagan declined to vacate a stay on a district court order about Apple’s payment rules. Kagan didn’t issue an explanation for the decision, with Epic’s petition showing as “denied” on the Supreme Court’s website.
That district court order was one of the only wins Epic got in its high-profile lawsuit against Apple, which started in 2020. Epic’s suit alleged that Apple’s 30 percent cut of App Store payments, often called an ‘Apple tax,’ violated antitrust laws. However, the district court determined Apple only violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by preventing app developers from directing users to alternate payment options outside of the App Store.
In 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Apple a stay on that part of the ruling, giving the company 90 days to petition the Supreme Court to see if it would take up the appeal. Epic, however, asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Ninth Circuit, warning it would harm Epic, other app developers and consumers.
While Apple will be able to continue forcing developers to process payments through Apple’s payment systems for now, that might not always be the case. The district court ruling will kick in if the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case.