They're hoping to overturn a finding that Apple doesn't break the law
Epic Games has some powerful allies in its fight to overturn a court decision that found Apple not guilty of antitrust violations. According to CNET and FOSS Patents, Microsoft, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and federal officials from 35 states have filed briefs in support of Epic's appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The states contended that the district court erred in claiming that the first provision of the Sherman Act (a cornerstone of US antitrust law) didn't apply to unilateral contracts like Apple's developer agreements. According to the brief, the court also failed to appropriately assess the harm caused by Apple's alleged anti-competitive actions against the advantages.
Microsoft, on the other hand, said that despite its size, it was still concerned about Apple's "huge gatekeeper power," noting its own interest in sustaining competition and innovation. This includes claimed anti-competitive actions not covered by Epic's regulations. Apple's effective restriction on cloud gaming services in the App Store, for example, is thought to be hurting Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft also argued that Apple's in-app payment requirement was not an anti-competitive attempt to bind products together, as the district court had concluded.
Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) highlighted the states' concerns about considering negative consequences while drawing parallels with Microsoft's understanding of tying. The foundation also claimed that the district court erred in assuming that customers were fully aware of Apple's policies when they signed up for the company's platform.
Apple seemed upbeat about its chances. The business said in a statement to CNET that it was "optimistic" that the district court's decision would be sustained, and that it was providing a "secure and trusted" App Store with a "wonderful opportunity" for creators. Epic has remained tight-lipped about the situation.
These briefs won't guarantee Epic's victory because the appeals court isn't required to consider them. However, there is a substantial showing of support, and it wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft, the EFF, and the states have an influence on the outcome. If Epic prevails in its appeal and is not challenged further, Apple may be forced to further alter the App Store.