A US court has upheld Apple’s order, which forces the game company Valve to disclose sales data for the Steam platform. The company, which was not involved in the legal dispute between Epic Games and Apple, must now submit sales figures, prices and other information on 436 games sold on Steam to Apple – by mid-March. The data should go back to 2017, a little less than Apple originally requested back to 2015.
Judge: Apple has “salted the ground” with orders
Apple has requested the data to rebut monopoly allegations around the App Store in the legal dispute with Epic Games – they should show that there is considerable competition in the distribution of apps. Valve has apparently already delivered individual, partly blackened documents to Apple, but refused to provide further data as too laborious and labor-intensive.
Apple had salty the ground with its “compulsory orders”, Valve was not alone affected, noted the judge in charge of a US federal court (Northern District of California Oakland Division) to Valve’s lawyers, how Law360 reported. However, the judge agreed with Apple’s argument that the Steam sales data are relevant for a better understanding of the game market and software sales via digital platforms.
How much competition does the App Store have?
According to the report, an Apple lawyer had stated at the hearing that the delivery of the required data set was feasible, Apple had only requested data on 436 games and not about all 30,000 game titles that are traded on Steam. Valve had previously argued that as a PC game manufacturer and with the PC game platform Steam, it was not even present in the market for mobile device apps that was actually relevant to the legal dispute.
The definition of a market is likely to play a key role in the dispute between Apple and Epic Games over Fortnite and in-app payment interfaces. The App Store is the only way to sell apps for iPhones and iPads, but Apple does not see itself as dominant in any market – it is exposed to fierce competition, said Apple CEO Tim Cook at a hearing before the US Congress last summer.