As part of the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic games–which may be heading to trial this yea–a new filing has disclosed that Apple subpoenaed Valve Software back in November. The subpoena demanded that Valve provide multiple years worth of commercial data about Steam operations and sales.
Apple’s reasoning for the subpoena was basically that since its case is built around competitive practices, this data from Steam would be key to demonstrating the company’s points. Apple’s argument is being handled by the law firm of McDermott, Will and Lowery, and states that the data from Valve is relevant to its case against Epic because “Valve’s digital distribution service, Steam, is the dominant digital game distributor on the PC platform and is a direct competitor to the Epic Game Store.”
There are two requests within the subpoena in particular that have been causing tension between Valve and Apple. According to a joint discovery letter that was submitted to the Northern California District Court yesterday, “Apple and Valve have engaged in several meet and confers, but Valve has refused to produce information responsive to Requests 2 and 32.”
Request 2 asks for a large amount of information from Valve: “Apple’s Request 2 is very narrow. It simply requests documents sufficient to show Valve’s: (a) total yearly sales of apps and in-app products; (b) annual advertising revenues from Steam; (c) annual sales of external products attributable to Steam; (d) annual revenues from Steam; and (e) annual earnings (whether gross or net) from Steam. Apple has gone as far as requesting this information in any readily accessible format, but Valve refuses to produce it.”
Request 32 follows suit, asking for: “(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.” The goal for these requests is to demonstrate the extent of the market that Epic is competing in, and show how much its main competitor–Valve–charges and makes for the products on its storefront. Valve, meanwhile, has pushed back, stating that it believes it has cooperated enough.
“Valve already produced documents regarding its revenue share, competition with Epic, Steam distribution contracts, and other documents.” Furthermore, Valve has argued that it shouldn’t be involved in the case at all as it’s not a competitor in the mobile space.
“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.”
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