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Friday, February 26, 2021

Apple tries to drag Valve into its ongoing legal battle with Epic

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Apple’s ongoing legal fight with Epic has been dragging on for months now. The whole Epic VS Apple legal battle comes down to Epic’s claim of Apple exploiting its dominant market position to bully developers into paying a hefty cut for every $$ earned via App Store publishing.

Epic insists Apple is a monopoly and engages in unfair business practices on the iOS platform. Epic and Apple have been up in arms since August last year after Epic sneakily allowed iOS users to purchase V-bucks directly from Epic’s site, bypassing Apple’s App Store. In retaliation, Apple took down Fortnite from its App Store, and since iOS doesn’t have a side-loading option for apps, Fortnite has been missing from iOS for over 6 months now. 

The fight between these two giants is dragging other video game companies into its net. According to a joint court letter filed on 18th Feb, Apple has been trying to subpoena (or drag) Valve for information related to Steam and years of its sales information.

Recommended | Epic Games Sues Apple, Google in UK

Apple’s subpoena requests Valve to produce information in response to Requests 2 and 32, that Valve is refusing to provide. 

Request 2, asks Valve to supply documents sufficient to show: (a) total yearly sales of apps and in-app products; (b) annual advertising revenues from Steam; (c) annual sales of external products attributable to Steam; (d) annual revenues from Steam; and (e) annual earnings (whether gross or net) from Steam.

Meanwhile, Requests 32 asks for documents sufficient to show: (a) the name of each App on Steam; (b) the date range when the App was available on Steam; and (c) the price of the App and any in-app product available on Steam.

Apple hopes to use data from Valve to prove its point that Epic has a suite of other places to sell Fortnite, and its action of terminating Fortnite for violating TOS is perfectly legal. 

Valve has understandably denied providing the requested information and claims Apple is asking for too much information, given Valve is not a concerned party in its fight with Epic Games and it is not a mobile platform.  

“Apple’s demands would impose an extraordinary burden on Valve to query, process and combine a massive amount of to create the documents Apple seeks — materials that Valve does not create or keep in the ordinary course of business — and with little or no value, as Valve does not compete in the mobile app market at issue,” Valve responded via a statement. 

While Apple argues that other companies such as Samsung complied with similar requests, Valve counters by saying that Samsung is a public company and is used to keeping records of the requested information. Whereas, Valve is a private company that isn’t required by law to maintain such records for public eyes.

Here is the case document.

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