Apple-Epic Games’ great take on Apple’s control of its App Store and whether it’s now an unfair monopoly is a decision, and it’s not great for Epic Games.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple on nearly all charges. Epic Games had hoped to prove that the tech giant’s App Store was a monopoly, causing consumers to hike prices and forcing developers to follow all of its rules in order to allow them to use Apple’s mobile devices.
Gonzalez Rogers has decided that the App Store is not a monopoly and that Apple should not be penalized for its success. And while the court is forcing Apple to allow developers to tell app users about alternative ways they can pay for subscriptions and in-app purchases — which may look like (and in some cases, It was initially reported as) A win for Epic – Apple will be allowed to continue most of the App Store practices that Epic has been fighting to stop.
The judge wrote: “The court has ruled in Apple’s favor on all counts except in connection with the violation of the California Unfair Competition Act (No. 10) and only in part with respect to their claim for declaratory damages.”
But you don’t have to take her words seriously; The statements by Epic and Apple also reflect the side the referee favors.
“Today’s verdict is not a win for developers or consumers,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney chirp. “Epic strives for fair competition between in-app payment methods and app stores for one billion consumers.”
“The court confirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store does not violate antitrust law,” Apple said.
The biggest factor in the decision was the definition of the “market” that Apple allegedly monopolized. This was a sticking point in the experiment: Apple argued that the market was gaming platforms; Epic said the market was just the Apple App Store. Gonzalez Rogers said during the trial that she believes the market could be mobile games, which will include other mobile platforms and stores such as Google Play. This is the definition that I followed in her ruling. It is difficult to prove that Apple is a monopoly when the judge’s definition of a market also includes its competitors.
Epic Games’ only win was a limited one: Although Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple should allow developers to show links to app users where they can make purchases outside the App Store (Apple won’t get a portion of it), Epic still isn’t allowed to enter Its payment method is in the app itself, and it can’t put its own App Store on Apple devices.
“This measured remedy will increase competition, increase transparency, increase consumer choice and information while preserving Apple’s iOS operating system with a pro-competitive rationale,” the judge wrote.
But Apple actually decided (or was hard-pressed) a few weeks ago to end its ban on telling users that they can purchase subscriptions and in-game items outside the App Store. So this ruling doesn’t really change anything for Apple now, and companies like Epic and Spotify are already on record saying that the ability to tell customers their alternatives isn’t good enough.
As for Epic’s other claims, Gonzalez Rogers said the company “exaggerated” and could not prove that Apple had a monopoly. This does not necessarily mean that Apple is not a monopoly, nor that another claimant can make a better argument than that. Gonzalez Rogers added: “The trial record has not been as racy as it could have been for antitrust behavior in the relevant market.” She said Apple’s 30 percent commission on most subscriptions and in-app purchases “seems to be excessive” and “likely to be anti-competitive.” But since Epic didn’t challenge the commission amount (just the fact that there was one), they weren’t able to judge it.
So this civil lawsuit will not be the last word in the Apple and antitrust case. Lawmakers and regulators in the United States, as well as those in many other countries, are pressing Apple to change what they see as potential violations of their antitrust laws. Apple is one of several major tech companies included in the Biden administration’s big antitrust campaign, which includes the appointment of senior tech critic Lena Kahn to the chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The issue is bipartisan, too: Republican and Democratic lawmakers are vocal opponents of Big Tech and have begun introducing new antitrust bills targeting it, while state attorneys general have cooperated to sue Google for antitrust violations several times in the past year. Facebook has also been sued for antitrust violations by the Federal Trade Commission and nearly every state — though the state attorney general’s version of the lawsuit has been overturned.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has made antitrust at Big Tech one of her main issues, said the ruling showed that more antitrust laws were needed.
“App stores raise serious competition concerns,” Klobuchar said in a statement. And while the ruling addresses some of these concerns, more needs to be done. We need to pass federal legislation on app store behavior to protect consumers, boost competition, and boost innovation.”
Spotify, which has been an outspoken opponent of the Apple App Store and has complained about this to the EU’s antitrust enforcement committee, said it was pleased with the part of the ruling that said Apple’s behavior was anticompetitive and outlawed its anti-routing rule, and hoped it would lead to more Decisions like that.
“These and other developments around the world demonstrate that there is a strong need and momentum for legislation to address these and many other unfair practices, which are designed to harm competition and consumers,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s head of global affairs and chief legal officer. Permit.
As for the Epic stunt that launched all of this — putting a direct payment system in Fortnite that was against App Store rules, which led to it being kicked out of iOS and macOS devices — the judge ruled in Apple’s favor. Not only did it declare that Apple’s decision to terminate its agreement with Epic was “valid, lawful and enforceable,” but it also ordered Epic to pay compensation to Apple: 30 percent of the revenue it collected through the prohibited direct payment system as of August 2020. Installation to this day.