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Apple urges court to ignore Epic's anti-steering complaint

Fortnite on an iPhone

Apple has responded to Epic's accusation it is in contempt of court for failing to remove anti-steering measures to its liking, by insisting it's really complying with the order.

On March 13, the Epic vs Apple saga rumbled on with a motion from Epic asking the court to hold Apple in contempt of court. The "Fortnite" maker alleged that Apple had failed to properly comply with a court order to allow developers to link to outside payment platforms, also known as Apple's anti-steering rules.

The new motion, filed on Friday and seen by Reuters, opposes Epic's motion to enforce the injunction. It tells the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that Epic's complaint is "without merit."

Apple had already told the court it had complied in January, by allowing developers to apply for an entitlement to provide a link to a website that the developer controls or owns. However Epic believed that the compliance measure was a "sham" since Apple still wanted to prevent developers from pursuing alternatives to the App Store with its restrictions.

As part of Apple's requirements for the links, which were limited to iOS and iPadOS apps in the U.S. App Store, the developers had to prove goods purchased by the external link were for in-app use. Developers also had to provide methods for disputing unauthorized transactions, managing subscriptions, and requesting refunds," as well as paying Apple fees.

Fees and profits

In Friday's motion, Apple believes Epic wanted the court "to micromanage Apple's business operations in a way that would increase Epic's profitability."

Apple "designed and implemented the External Purchase Link Entitlement to comply with the court's injunction" will still keeping the App Store safe and secure for users, it added.

"Epic's motion is its latest attempt to gain access to the iOS platform and user base for free," Apple states. "Epic does not even suggest an alternative amount that Apple should be allowed to charge developers for use of and access to its tools and technologies."

The court has already rejected arguments from Epic's amici," Apple points out, "which are all enormous developers" who Apple accuses of seeking to "pad their own profits without concern for consumers or the integrity of the iOS ecosystem."

Apple reckons that Epic's injunction request "neither addresses nor provides a vehicle to revisit the decision."

The filing goes on to say that Epic had the burden to clearly show Apple didn't make good-faith efforts to comply with the injunction, which Apple says Epic failed to do. The "undisputed evidence establishes Apple's good-faith compliance with the injunction," it concludes.