Lawyers for Fortnite-maker Epic Games and Apple will face off at an appeals hearing over the tight control of App Store, and US Department of Justice lawyers will get to chime in.

US gets a say in epic battle with Apple

Lawyers for Fortnite maker Epic Games and Apple will go head-to-head in an appeal hearing over tight control of the App Store, and they will be joined by lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice. — Copyright AFP JOEL SAGET

The US Justice Department wants to give its opinion on Apple’s antitrust lawsuit with Epic Games, which is due on appeal next month, a year after a California court ruled largely in favor of the iPhone maker.

On Friday, an appeals court granted the agency the right to send a representative to a hearing scheduled for October 21, where both sides must re-examine their arguments.

In 2021, a California judge ruled against Fortnite maker Epic, who accused Apple of operating as a monopoly in its digital goods or service store.

But the judge also banned Apple from preventing developers from including “external links or other calls to action that direct customers to purchase mechanisms” in their apps.

Apple may still require its payment systems to be used for in-app transactions.

Both sides are attractive.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department asked for time at an appeal hearing to raise concerns about the judge’s interpretation of the antitrust law at issue.

“The District Court made several legal errors that could jeopardize effective antitrust enforcement, especially in a digital economy,” Justice Department lawyers said in their report.

Justice officials are investigating whether Apple and other tech giants are abusing their market power through anti-competitive practices.

Lawyers for Apple, Epic, and the Department of Justice will testify in an appeals court that will also consider their written arguments.

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