Apple’s ongo­ing legal bat­tle with Epic Games — which could be head­ing to tri­al this year — has now caused Apple to file a sub­poe­naed against Valve Soft­ware back in Novem­ber. The sub­poe­na demand­ed that Valve pro­vide mul­ti­ple years worth of com­mer­cial data about Steam oper­a­tions and sales. 

The rea­son for the sub­poe­na was sim­ply to show their case built around com­pet­i­tive prac­tices, with data from Steam being a key to prov­ing this point. Apple’s argu­ment is being rep­re­sent­ed 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 game dis­trib­u­tor on the PC plat­form and is a direct com­peti­tor to the Epic Game Store.”

In par­tic­u­lar, there are two requests with­in the sub­poe­na that are caus­ing a rift between Valve and Apple. Accord­ing to a joint dis­cov­ery let­ter that was sub­mit­ted to the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Dis­trict Court, “Apple and Valve have engaged in sev­er­al meet and con­fers, but Valve has refused to pro­duce infor­ma­tion respon­sive to Request 2 and 32.”

Request 2 asks for a rather large amount of data, includ­ing: “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; © 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 asks for sim­i­lar infor­ma­tion: “(a) the name of each App on Steam; (b) 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 goal of the requests is the demon­strate the extent of the mar­ket that Epic is com­pet­ing in, and how much their com­peti­tor — Valve — charges and makes for the prod­ucts on it’s store­front. How­ev­er, Valve has pushed back. stat­ing they’ve coop­er­at­ed enough.

Valve already pro­duced doc­u­ments regard­ing its rev­enue share, com­pe­ti­tion with Epic, Steam dis­tri­b­u­tion con­tracts, and oth­er doc­u­ments.” They fur­ther argued that it should­n’t be involved in the case at all since it’s not a com­peti­tor in the mobile market.

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.”