The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust battle that has been ongoing for years, denying both companies’ requests Tuesday. 

In effect, the court’s decision keeps Apple’s current App Store fees in place while allowing developers to direct users to external payment methods. It also allows Apple to continue to keep its App Store as the only one available to iOS users.

“The Supreme Court denied both sides’ appeals of the Epic v. Apple antitrust case,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning. “The court battle to open iOS to competing stores and payments is lost in the United States. A sad outcome for all developers.”

He added, however, that the decision means that iOS app developers can begin to include buttons and links that point to external purchases outside of the App Store. "As of today, developers can begin exercising their court-established right to tell US customers about better prices on the web," Sweeney wrote.


Apple’s App Store is the only current way for iOS users to download new applications, and Apple takes a 30% cut of any in-app purchases or app sales. Epic Games, publisher of the hit battle royale shooter Fortnite and maker of the Unreal Engine game development platform, sought to find a workaround back in 2020 to avoid the pricey “Apple tax.” Apple then booted Fortnite’s mobile version from its app store, and the battle between the tech giant and the game publisher began.

Back in August, the Supreme Court temporarily stopped a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from taking effect in the case, giving Apple time to submit an appeal of its own. 

In April 2023, the Ninth Circuit found that Apple had violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by not allowing iOS applications to offer users billing options outside of Apple’s in-app purchasing mechanisms. The Ninth Circuit also said that Apple’s 30% tax could stand, however, despite a previous ruling finding it illegal.


Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision will allow the Ninth Circuit’s rulings to go into effect, meaning that iOS developers will be able to suggest alternative payment methods outside of the App Store that effectively circumvent Apple’s tax. This could lead to billions of dollars in lost revenue for Apple.

For now, though, it appears that the App Store’s 30% in-app purchase tax has been preserved in the United States—despite Epic’s efforts to see it overhauled.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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