The Epic v. Apple is a mixed bag
The lawsuit against Epic Games against Apple has ended with a number of mixed outcomes for both companies, but with lasting implications for app developers. Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, made big news in August 2020 when it decided to allow consumers to purchase in-game currency through its website instead of the Apple App Store interface. When Apple took down Fortnite in retaliation, Epic Games took legal action, claiming Apple was violating antitrust laws. In May 2021, a California judge held multiple hearings on questions of “what is a game” and whether Apple’s rules violated antitrust rules. Today, the judge overseeing the trial, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, delivered her decision.
Rogers first made the news by filing a permanent injunction against Apple. The injunction prevents the Big Tech giant from forcing application developers to use only the App Store payment system. The move would allow developers to add interface elements to iOS apps that are tied to external purchasing mechanisms.
While Rogers’ blocking of Apple’s anti-leadership policies is a big change in the App Store market, the judge did not confirm Epic’s notion that Apple’s practices were monopolistic. Rogers dismissed nine of Epic’s 10 claims against the company, then ordered Epic to pay damages to Apple equal to the amount lost due to their breach of contract involving Apple’s 30% product commissions. sold in the iOS version of Fortnite.
After hearing the results of the case, Apple said the decision was a “resounding victory” despite the forced change in their policies on the App Store. Epic Games, on the other hand, intends to appeal the decision, although it is not known what it is.
In the meantime, app developers are interested in seeing how to use these developments to their advantage. Horacio Gutierrez, Head of Global Affairs and General Counsel, Spotify, said that “we are pleased with Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ conclusion that Apple has engaged in anti-competitive behavior and has permanently banned their anti-management provisions” . Gutierrez added that these changes, among many others around the world, “show that there is a strong need and momentum for legislation to tackle these and many other unfair practices, which are designed to harm competition. and consumers. This task has never been so urgent.
Spotify has consistently criticized the practices of the Apple App Store. In 2019, the music streaming service filed a complaint with the European Commission, arguing that App Store rules “deliberately limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of user experience.” Spotify also hinted that Apple favors promoting its own products because its decision to act as “player and arbiter” allows it to “deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”
Lawmakers were also pleased. “Today’s decision in Epic Games v. Apple is a milestone”, tweeted The Chairman and Representative of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, David Cicillin, “But this is further proof that Congress must enact clear rules of the road to prevent platform monopolists from abusing their power and choosing winners and losers online. Congress must act! “
When it comes to small developers, Apple’s policy change opens a lot of doors, especially when it comes to games. “While the barrier to entry has been reduced through access to powerful game engines such as Unreal and Unity or global distribution channels such as Steam, the video game industry has grown. exponential, ”explained James Deighan, co-founder of games company Mega Cat. Workshops. “One of the last remaining strongholds is the 30% platform fee that most proprietary storefronts stick to. If there was a change to this commission, it would be profound for us.
When Deighan heard about the ruling and the anti-leadership injunction, he was elated. The game developer told the Washington Examiner that he hopes the policy change will encourage technological innovation and increase the number of microtransactions.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original author: Christophe hutton
Original location: The Epic v. Apple is a mixed bag