Apple Backed by Koch Group in App Store Antitrust Fight

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Apple Inc. won the backing of a foundation started by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers in a court fight over claims the iPhone maker’s App Store is anti-competitive.

Apple Inc. won the backing of a foundation started by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers in a court fight over claims the iPhone maker’s App Store is anti-competitive.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, founded by Charles Koch and his late brother, David, and known for supporting libertarian conservative causes, was the first to submit a filing on Thursday’s deadline for groups to weigh in on Apple’s side in its battle with Epic Games Inc., the maker of Fortnite.

Apple mostly won its 2021 trial with Epic, but the iPhone maker is asking the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a portion of a judge’s September ruling finding that the App Store’s business model violates California’s unfair competition law.

The non-profit foundation argues the judge’s legal analysis was faulty, emphasizing that antitrust laws are meant to protect competition, “not competitors.”

Epic brought the case because it “is a would-be and self-avowed competitor of Apple in the distribution of apps,” the group said in its filing.

Other so-called friend-of-the-court briefs filed Thursday included those filed by the ACT-App Association, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the Washington Legal Foundation and a group of national security experts and scholars.

On Epic’s side of the battle, a bipartisan group of attorneys general from 35 states argued in a January filing that the trial judge was wrong to conclude Apple’s dominance of the market for mobile apps doesn’t violate U.S. antitrust law.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a filing he’s not taking either company’s side in the dispute. But he argued that the state’s unfair competition law can be invoked on its own, while Apple contends it must be coupled with an alleged violation of antitrust law.





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