The lengthy legal battle between Apple and Epic Games is wrapping up, and Epic might be stuck with a massive $73 million in fees. The original dispute began with Epic Games wanting to accept third-party payments outside Apple’s App Store. This was designed to get around Apple’s 30% fee for purchases made through the App Store. But as the legal challenges continued, it became a referendum on whether Apple had a level of control over the App Store violated antitrust laws.
Apple, for the most part, emerged victorious amidst the slew of legal claims. Epic did succeed in one area, as the courts ruled Apple’s anti-steering efforts had to stop. But even that victory was a small one, because Apple will still take a 27% cut from purchases made with third-party payments in iOS apps. The losses could turn out to be extremely harmful to Epic, as Apple is asking for the company to pay more than $73 million in legal fees.
Why Epic might have to pay Apple $73 million in fees
The request was first spotted by @gamesfray on X, who posted Apple’s motion to the court. The document says that per the indemnification provision of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement, Epic must pay $73,404,326. It also leaves open the door for “additional amounts Apple is incurring during this ongoing litigation.”
The indemnification clause of the license agreement says that “[developers] agree to indemnify and hold harmless, and upon Apple’s request, defend, Apple … including without limitation, attorneys’ fees and court costs (collectively, “Losses”), incurred by an Apple Indemnified Party and arising from or related to any of the following.” The agreement goes on to say that “the following” refers to a breach of the agreement, the End User License Agreement, and misuse of Apple software or services, among others.
Epic Games has at least broken a few provisions of this agreement by accepting third-party payments in Fortnite before it was permitted.
What Apple’s request for $73 million in fees means for Epic
First, it’s important to note that Apple could have asked for more. Apple said it used $82,971,401 on the case initially. Then, it lowered that number to a slightly-lower $81,560,362. Because the company lost one of nine counts, Epic got a 10% discount. That’s how Apple landed at the $73,404,326 figure for total charges.
“Early into the litigation, Epic accepted that if it loses on its antitrust claims (as it did), it owes damages,” said Gamesfray in the X thread. Even if this is true, it will have a maximum effect on the company. Apple is bigger than Epic Games, and has more money to spend on legal battles. But it’s important to remember that Epic has legal bills of its own. So, as is the case in many of these claims, Epic could be paying both.
The court will still have to approve this request. But, based on the information we have, it seems fairly cut-and-dry.
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