If that headline reads like things in the Epic vs. Apple vs. Google case are getting messy, well, yes. Let’s try to break this down as best as we can: A joint discovery letter filed this past Thursday to the District court in Northern California revealed that Apple had subpoenaed Valve Software in November 2020, asking that Valve provide a truly massive stack of sales data for use in the Apple/Epic Games suits and countersuits.
Specifically, Apple sought documents that provide details like total yearly sales of apps and in-app purchases, annual revenues from Steam, and annual earnings from Steam, along with “the name of each App on Steam; the date range when the App was available on Steam; and the price of the App and any in-app product available on Steam.” The request initially sought this information for over 30,000 games on Steam but eventually narrowed down that figure to about 600.
As one might expect, Valve has pushed back against Apple’s subpoena, arguing that the demands imposed “too heavy a burden” and that Apple has not shown a substantial need for the data it demands.
“Apple was not satisfied and demands — without offering to cover Valve’s costs, which would be significant — that Valve recreate six years’ worth of PC game and item sales for hundreds of third party video games, then produce a massive amount of confidential information about these games and Valve’s revenues.
“Apple wrongly claims those requests are narrow. They are not. […] 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.”
Valve is asking that the court throw Apple’s subpoena out.