Against its will, Valve is being dragged into the Epic vs. Apple antitrust lawsuit, with new documents revealing Apple has asked Valve to hand over financial data.
Various court documents have revealed that Valve has been subpoenaed by Apple for Steam commercial data, with Tim Cook's tech giant requesting years of in-depth sales information from the Steam platform owner.
“Apple and Valve have engaged in several meet and confers, but Valve has refused to produce information responsive to Requests 2 and 32,” says the joint discovery letter.
Apple notes that "Epic’s various mobile and non-mobile distribution options are central to disputed issues of market definition and market power."
As such, Apple wants to rifle through Valve's data to prove its point – noting that Epic has a suite of options available to it when it comes to publishing and distributing its titles.
Request 2, then, asks Valve to supply complete annual data such as sales, revenue, and other financial information from “total yearly sales of apps and in-app products.” This data, Apple hopes, will back up its claim and make it evident that Epic has a suite of other places to sell Fortnite.
Request 32, meanwhile, 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."
Valve, understandably, doesn't want to supply this information to Apple.
"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," the statement notes.
This whole legal battle comes down to Epic's insistence that Apple has a monopoly on smartphone distribution, and that the company engages with unfair business practices on the iOS platform (via charging unreasonable rates to developers that earn revenue via App Store publishing).
Epic’s battle against Apple has been building for some time now and exploded last summer when Fortnite was kicked off the App Store for trying to circumvent the 30% platform fee for using that service.
The case between Apple and Epic is expected to go to trial later this year.