Epic Appeals Apple Case to Supreme Court

Epic has taken what's presumably the final step in its antitrust legal battle with Apple over App Store fees, as The Verge reports Epic has petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and have a final say in the matter. The filing starts with a surprisingly concise summary of the questions presented:
This case presents two critical questions regarding the legal standards governing the Rule of Reason, which determines the outcome of nearly every Sherman Act case. It is well settled that a restraint that has both pro- and anti- competitive effects is unlawful if a ‘less-restrictive alternative” will achieve the same benefits while harming competition less. The circuits are divided, however, on two issues that were outcome-determinative in this case (1) the legal test for identifying a less-restrictive alternative; and (2) if no less-restrictive alternative exists, whether the restraint is valid even when (as in this case) the court finds harms to competition that vastly outweigh the benefits.

The Questions Presented are:

  1. Must a less restrictive alternative be free from additional costs to the defendant?
  2. If there is no less-restrictive alternative, is the restraint invalid if the harms to competition substantially outweigh the restraint’s procompetitive justification?

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Re: Epic Appeals Apple Case to Supreme Court
Sep 28, 2023, 10:35
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Re: Epic Appeals Apple Case to Supreme Court Sep 28, 2023, 10:35
Sep 28, 2023, 10:35
 
The capital costs associated with entering the phone market are obscene but many companies have tried, some have succeeded in other countries but in North America most have failed. I don't really buy the argument that alternative app stores will make any significant difference to consumer habits but some people think it would. People have also argued for the break up of Apple or Google but so far no one has a made compelling legal case for it. Most of the arguments surrounding this are about developers rather than consumers which is part of the problem, no one has been able to demonstrate any significant harm to consumers. Despite the often pilloried "walled garden" used by Apple and Google, consumers have huge variety of choice of literally millions of apps, free and paid. We have easy access to phones of various sizes and prices, though market forces have shifted toward larger phones in recent years. It's a consumer's market right now and for the foreseeable future. If that changes one day then it will be easier to argue for say forcing Apple to break out the App store into a different business entity or something similar.

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