Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Oakland Federal Court in California had to decide the delicate case between Epic Games and Apple. The stop was returned on September 10th, leaving observers unsatisfied. It’s hard to tell who won the game. For Epic Games, the answer seems obvious, it’s not them or not quite them. They appealed in hopes of revenge.
Epic Games accuses Apple of anti-gambling
Little reminder of the facts. Epic Games, dissatisfied with the App Store policy, decides to introduce a payment system for the application of its best-selling Fortnite, despite the developer agreements. The aim is to bypass the 30% commission that Apple takes for all in-app payments on the iPhone.
The apple brand responded without trembling and removed Fortnite from their app store. Epic Games then decides to take the case to court to end Cupertino’s supremacy and practices described as anti-competitive and monopoly.
The decision was made one year after the start of the conflict and just over four months after the start of the process. Epic Games is fined $ 6 million for bypassing Apple’s rules by imposing its payment system. Additionally, Cupertino has no obligation to return Fortnite to the App Store or any Epic Games service.
Epic paid Apple $ 6,000,000 as ordered by the court. pic.twitter.com/trulCfjE9S
– Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 13, 2021
Hard blow for the publisher, but the apple brand could have won a Pyrrhic victory. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ ruling forced Apple to allow developers to add a link, button, or other that would take the user to an external payment system. Every click means 30% less commission for Apple and could jeopardize the business model of its app store.
Of course, not everything is that simple. The edge delved into the intricacies of the verdict and its conclusions on Epic’s ten complaints to understand the pros and cons.
Thanks to Android, the App Store is not considered a monopoly
The fight started at the beginning of the game. For Epic, Apple has abused its monopoly on the iOS app ecosystem. For Apple, the question of monopoly does not arise since Fortnite is a video game, so its terrain is much larger than its application.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sent the players back to back. She estimates that iOS accounts for 55% of the transaction market, but is a duopoly alongside Android. Consolation prize she states that ” There is evidence that Apple is on the verge of significant market power or monopoly power. “.
The apple brand was hot but scored six goals in a row. Six complaints from the game publisher attacked Apple on the grounds of antimonopoly and antitrust laws, the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Cartwright Act.
Apple’s defense, tested by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, holds up
The seventh complaint concerns the ban on the Fortnite app store and the publisher in general. Here, too, Apple’s defenses were put to the test. The judge found a lack of innovation from Apple, a lack of mediation and a more than comfortable margin. Competition from a third-party app store wouldn’t hurt, she said.
Nevertheless, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sticks to Apple’s argument about the security of his iPhone. However, it qualifies that an alternative model could be considered without compromising safety. No obligation for the Apple brand to host a competitor. 7-0.
New Epic offensive against the mandatory 30% commission in the App Store, now innocent and rated very poorly by Apple. The services offered are chargeable for the Apple brand, in particular the connection between user and developer. The judge was skeptical about the amount, but acknowledged the need for a license to remunerate Apple’s intellectual property. Two more and less complaints.
9-1 for Apple, but a great target from Epic Games
In the final part, Epic Games will save the honor. For Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, a few lines from Apple’s developer contracts do not go through: Apps and their metadata must not contain buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchase mechanisms other than in-app purchase. “.
According to the ruling, this violates California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL). It is forbidden for the judge to forbid developers to inform their users about the use of alternative means of payment. Apple is therefore forced to authorize them to inform users directly and no longer just via emails retrieved from iOS, as Cupertino timidly and belatedly planned.
The action could have been good for Epic, but there is a downside. Apple will still be able to earn its 30% commission on in-app applications, but what if users massively use external payment methods? For the judge in a ” such a hypothetical world », The intellectual property and the innovation of the App Store would no longer be remunerated at their fair price and Apple would have the right to complain about them …
But we are far from it. If the game was complicated for Epic Games, its CEO Tim Sweeney rightly welcomes a ” Victory for developers and consumers “The publisher of Fortnite is now waiting for his revenge during the appeal process in order to shake up Apple in its certainties. The date has not yet been set.