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Attorneys general for 34 states and the District of Columbia have told an appeals court that Apple continues to “stifle competition” with its monopoly on app distribution via the App Store.
The Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit saw a ruling in 2021 that chiefly sided with Apple, but the appeals process is continuing. Now the 35 attorneys general have submitted a joint statement into the appeal, backing Epic.
According to Reuters, the joint letter was led by the state of Utah, and joined by Colorado, Indiana, Texas, and more.
“Apple’s conduct has harmed and is harming mobile app-developers and millions of citizens,” the states said. “Meanwhile, Apple continues to monopolize app distribution and in-app payment solutions for iPhones, stifle competition, and amass supracompetitive profits within the almost trillion-dollar-a-year smartphone industry.”
The United States Department of Justice has also filed a letter. Notably, it’s not signed by Jonathan Kanter, the assistant attorney general. Kanter used to be the lead attorney for the Coalition for App Fairness.
Alongside the attorneys general, Reuters reports that activist groups and academics have been filing legal arguments in support of the developer of “Fortnite.”
Key to the states’ argument is that the court decided that Apple’s non-negotiable contracts with developers were not covered by antitrust law. Epic Games itself made similar claims when it began filing its appeal on January 20, 2022.
“Paradoxically, firms with enough market power to unilaterally impose contracts would be protected from antitrust scrutiny,” continued the attorneys general letter, “precisely the firms whose activities give the most cause for antitrust concern.”
Apple is expected to respond to the appeal in March.