Apple urges court to reject Epic's appeal in App Store antitrust case

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OAKLAND, Calif., March 24 (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Thursday told appellate judges that video game maker Epic Games had failed to show any legal error that would justify them overturning a lower-court ruling that found key App Store policies do not break U.S. antitrust law.

Epic, known for its "Fortnite" game, largely lost a trial last year over whether Apple's payment rules for apps were anticompetitive. That decision found Apple had suitable reasons to force some app makers such as Epic to use its payment system and take commissions of 15% to 30% on their sales.

Following the ruling, Epic appealed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Apple in its reply on Thursday said Epic had failed to propose a reasonable alternative to the App Store policies.

"Epic asks the Judiciary to fundamentally change the App Store by forcing Apple to abandon the integrated distribution and digital-content delivery model that, among many other procompetitive benefits, helps safeguard user security and privacy," the court filing said.

Both Apple and Epic are scheduled to file a second round of arguments before the appeals panel calls a hearing, for possibly next year.

In support of Epic's appeal, attorneys general for 34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia said in January that Apple is stifling competition through its mobile app store. read more

Outside arguments in support of Apple are due next Thursday.

Experts and critics of the lower-court decision have said it is striking that the judge found Apple had broken California's unfair competition law but not federal antitrust law.

Similarly, Apple in its cross-appeal on Thursday questioned how it could be held liable under state law if its practices were not found illegal under federal law.

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Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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Thomson Reuters

San Francisco Bay Area-based tech reporter covering Google and the rest of Alphabet Inc. Joined Reuters in 2017 after four years at the Los Angeles Times focused on the local tech industry.