Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,473
16,515


Apple has subpoenaed Valve in its ongoing lawsuit with Epic Games, demanding it provides huge amounts of commercial data about Steam sales and operations dating back several years, court filings have revealed (via PC Gamer).

steam-apple-logo.jpg


The subpoena was initiated by Apple in November 2020 under the argument that information about Valve's digital distribution service, Steam, would be crucial to building its case against Epic Games.

Apple requested that Valve provided documents to show its total yearly sales of apps and in-app products, annual advertising revenues, annual sales of external products, and annual revenues and earnings from Steam. There are also more granular requests for the name of every app on Steam, the date range when every app has been available, and the price of all apps and in-app purchases.

This apparently involved the demand for information on over 30,000 games initially, but Apple has since narrowed its focus to around 600 games. Nevertheless, Apple is still insisting on receiving documents about every version of a given product and a large amount of financial information about Valve's business.

Apple believes that Steam "is the dominant digital game distributor on the PC platform and is a direct competitor to the Epic Game Store," so information about the digital marketplace's sales and operations can show the extent of the market that the Epic Games Store is competing in. Apple argues that Valve should provide this information since it is not available elsewhere, and "does not raise risk of any competitive harm."

While Apple and Valve apparently met several times to confer, Valve has refused to produce much of the information that Apple is requesting in the subpoena. Valve says that it has cooperated to a reasonable extent, providing documents on revenue share, competition with Epic, Steam distribution contracts, and more, but asserts that the request for six years' worth of PC game and item sales for hundreds of third-party games and confidential information about these games and Valve's revenues is unreasonable.

The company also bristled at Apple's request for Valve's involvement in the case since Steam is not a competitor in the mobile space, saying "Valve is not Epic, and Fortnite is not available on Steam." Valve goes as far as to allege that Apple is using the request as a shortcut to a vast amount of commercially-sensitive third-party data.

Somehow, in a dispute over mobile apps, a maker of PC games that does not compete in the mobile market or sell "apps" is being portrayed as a key figure. It's not. The extensive and highly confidential information Apple demands about a subset of the PC games available on Steam does not show the size or parameters of the relevant market and would be massively burdensome to pull together. Apple's demands for further production should be rejected.

Valve added that it does not even keep all of the information that Apple is seeking since it does not need it in the ordinary course of business, and is now calling for the court to dismiss Apple's subpoena. Meanwhile, Apple's lawsuit with Epic Games is ongoing.

Article Link: Apple Demanded Sales Information on 30,000+ Games From Steam in Ongoing Lawsuit With Epic Games
 
  • Haha
Reactions: rafark

Cosmosent

macrumors 68010
Apr 20, 2016
2,003
2,292
La Jolla, CA
As an App Dev, I sure would like Apple to disclose / release per-Category App Store Revenue numbers, & on a per-week basis !

IMO, ALL AAPL shareholders & ALL App Devs deserve to have access to this Info !

Just the App Store here in the States would be sufficient.
 

MauiPa

macrumors 68020
Apr 18, 2018
2,306
3,277
As an App Dev, I sure would like Apple to disclose / release per-Category App Store Revenue numbers, & on a per-week basis !

IMO, ALL AAPL shareholders & ALL App Devs deserve to have access to this Info !
with computers it is easy to list data by time period (any developer should know this), so the one a week is not a problem. The problem is that EPIC used steam to make a point, but offered no proof. To recall an old adage, "Where is the Beef?"
 

Sharewaredemon

Contributor
May 31, 2004
1,992
204
Cape Breton Island
I think what Apple is asking for seems a bit much, and my first thought was they wanted that info more for themselves than anything to with the case.

With that said, Epic is 100% competing with Steam, they are constantly giving games away to try to lure people into using the Epic Games launcher. (maybe that stopped but it was something they did for at least 6 months)
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,678
3,077
"does not raise risk of any competitive harm."

In that case, why doesn't Apple give out App Store sales data? Oh right - because third parties are the owners of that data, and it would harm them...Valve owns maybe 0.2% of the software on their store.
 

Wildkraut

macrumors 68000
Nov 8, 2015
1,864
2,871
Germany
WOW who they think they are lol

That's a huge privacy issue, if Valve freely provide this to Apple, this could even damage Steams reputation.
Just proves how insane Apple is, pure panic and greediness.
Demanding documents from companies who has nothing to do with the case.

Yeah Steam on iOS would be kinda cool, too :D I like that idea.
Apple shot to the wrong direction, and that shows how severe the Apple monopoly situation is, this even drives *enemies* to somehow support each other.

Epic💕Steam, go for it and stop that Apple Mafia!
 

BuffaloTF

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2008
1,262
1,356
Valve may not compete with mobile app delivery, but their service offering mirrors what Apple provides and a level of service Epic does not. Most notably, incurring the charges for payment processing (which can exceed 20% in some Asian and Central American countries) as well as another big one; make your local tax payments for you and provide back the appropriate documentation for that action.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ruka.snow

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
24,384
30,983
California
"does not raise risk of any competitive harm."

In that case, why doesn't Apple give out App Store sales data? Oh right - because third parties are the owners of that data, and it would harm them...Valve owns maybe 0.2% of the software on their store.

Apple DOES give out App Store sales data when subpoenad. I was watching a case last week where apple had provided this data as part of a class action law suit.

Apple, itself, would never see valve’s information - only the law firm it has hired would get to see it. This is done all the time in lawsuits.
 

connormw

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2018
36
320
New York
Crazy. This subpoena should absolutely get tossed.

Apple is basically arguing that a competitor of theirs (Valve/Steam) should have to hand over proprietary sales data to them, so they can use it in a lawsuit with ANOTHER potential competitor and plaintiff in a lawsuit. It’s ridiculous and unsubstantiated.

Valve should keep it up and not comply. Unless Apple wants to set the standard and release proprietary sales data on App Store sales as well.
 

neuropsychguy

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2008
1,557
2,931
I think what Apple is asking for seems a bit much, and my first thought was they wanted that info more for themselves than anything to with the case.

With that said, Epic is 100% competing with Steam, they are constantly giving games away to try to lure people into using the Epic Games launcher. (maybe that stopped but it was something they did for at least 6 months)
They still give them away. I get the games because they are free. I don't spend any money with Epic but if they want to keep giving out games, I'll happily accept. I'm up to about 51 free games from them now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amartinez1660

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
24,384
30,983
California
Crazy. This subpoena should absolutely get tossed.

Apple is basically arguing that a competitor of theirs (Valve/Steam) should have to hand over proprietary sales data to them, so they can use it in a lawsuit with ANOTHER potential competitor and plaintiff in a lawsuit. It’s ridiculous and unsubstantiated.

Valve should keep it up and not comply. Unless Apple wants to set the standard and release proprietary sales data on App Store sales as well.

It’s called a third-party subpoena, and it happens every day across the country in lawsuits like this. Valve cannot choose whether or not to comply - it will be up to a court. Apple has had to produce similar data in numerous law suits in which it was not involved. And Apple will never see Valve’s information - it will be seen only by outside attorneys under a protective order which provides for strict penalties if violated.
 

ruka.snow

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2017
1,521
4,060
Scotland
I guess the real argument Apple are making here is that as Steam is the dominant store for games, the focus should be put on them and Valve's monopoly on selling video games.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SFjohn

Wildkraut

macrumors 68000
Nov 8, 2015
1,864
2,871
Germany
Can't wait for third party game stores on Xbox, PlayStation and Switch.
Me too, why not? Somebody just have to sue...
Just because there is nothing currently ongoing, does not mean it's the right way...

That's why I'm for a general law and market regulation, based on Apple monopoly case.
I'm not emotionally attached to any company.
 
Last edited:
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.