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.”