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Epic's lawsuit against the Apple App Store will likely end up in the Supreme Court after almost everything was decided in Apple's favor. That's all. what you need to know about all the courtroom drama, updated October 1, 2023
For weeks, differences between Epic Games' ambitions and Apple's intent to maintain the status quo on the App Store have sparked significant controversy. The case began with little warning to consumers, but quickly drew international interest as the battle sought to change one of the fundamental elements of the App Store: how much Apple makes.
Apple's dominance previously led to an antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice into App Store fees and policies. However, the disagreement between Apple and Epic is being aired more publicly and directly affecting younger customers.
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While the fight is primarily between Epic and Apple, other parties have already been seen voicing their observations and opinions on the matter, including developers of other apps included in the App Store. At the same time that Apple has come under scrutiny for its policies, Epic itself has also come under criticism for the way it handled the situation, including causing it to happen and orchestrating a deliberate response.
Following the release of the appeals court decision and both sides of their position and further possible appeals, here's how Apple and Epic entered into a multi-year legal battle, what followed the decision, the first appeals of the original court decision, this result and upcoming consequences.
Epic Fortnite updates, Apple removed it down
The main launch event occurred on August 13, when Epic updated the Fortnite app with a new feature that allowed consumers to pay Epic directly for discounted in-app currency, rather than paying traditionally through the Apple App Store payment mechanism. Offering this option allowed Epic to bypass App Store rules that required payments to go through the App Store payment system and pay a 30% fee.
The board is a non-negotiable element for the vast majority of applications, but there are some exceptions. To begin with, this rule applies to digital goods, excluding physical goods such as online stores and restaurants. At the same time, in many situations, subscriptions may pay a smaller portion of the transaction fee.
The change was not limited to just the iOS version of the game, it was similarly applied to the Android version, which again goes against similar Google Play Store policies and fees.
As you might expect, Apple removed the game from the App Store for violating the App Store rules a few hours after the update appeared. Likewise, Google has also removed the game from the Google Play Store, although on Android the game is still available through third-party stores and directly from Epic.
Lawsuits and marketing
On the same day of the removal, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in retaliation for the game's withdrawal. He filed another lawsuit against Google for removing Fortnite.
Epic's complaint included an indictment alleging that Apple had become “a giant bent on controlling markets, blocking competition, and stifling innovation.” exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history.”
An important part of the lawsuit is that it does not seek to argue whether Epic complied with the App Store rules, but instead fights against the rules themselves. His objections The policy primarily includes Apple's “exorbitant” 30% commission on in-app purchases.
It also argues that the same policy is anti-competitive by forcing developers to use the App Store. If the rules were invalid, Epic says it would have released a competing app store.
Epic's reasoning ignores the fact that the App Store and Apple's ecosystem are relatively similar to Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox platforms, with each requiring the use of a single digital store, the use of certain payment processors, and the acceptance of a 30% discount. transactions.
Currently, Epic has not yet filed suit against either Sony or Microsoft, demanding lower transaction fees or the ability to control its digital marketplace.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Apple's “anti-competitive conduct” and any “necessary equitable relief.”
At the same time as filing the lawsuit, Epic Games tried to gain public support by releasing a video parody of Apple's famous “1984” Super Bowl ad. In this version, a Fortnite character smashes a screen that shows a cartoon talking apple with a worm.
Whereas the original portrayed Apple as a violator of the aging and oppressive IBM's control in computing, the parody appears to put Apple in IBM's place, with Epic instead being a violator of Apple's control over the App Store.
As of August 22, people have viewed the video 5.6 million times. Epic is also trying to get the #FreeFortnite hashtag trending on social media.
The timing of the lengthy lawsuit and the sudden marketing move, which occurred hours after Apple shut down the game, strongly suggest that Epic prepared them in advance in anticipation of the app's removal.
Developer account threat
On August 17, Apple took an offensive step against Epic, which was revealed to the public by Epic via Twitter. Epic claims that Apple has informed Epic that it will close all developer accounts and disconnect Epic from iOS and Mac development tools on August 28th.
Naturally, Epic filed a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Apple from taking “any adverse action against it.” The lawsuit also asks the court to block Apple from “removing, delisting, delisting, or otherwise making unavailable the Fortnite app, including any updates thereto, from the App Store on the basis that Fortnite offers in-app payments.” processing by means other than Apple's IAP or on any pretextual basis.”
The court document released by Epic contains a letter sent by Apple to the company, noting “several violations of Apple's License Agreement Developer Programs” from Epic, and this access will be terminated if the violations are not corrected within 14 days.
For Epic, removing developer tools goes well beyond Fortnite, as the company makes Unreal Engine available to thousands of developers to use in their games. By not using developer tools to support elements of the macOS and iOS game engine, the company is effectively unable to provide support to third-party developers who have licensed the technology.
The lawsuit said: “Apple is attacking Epic's entire business in unrelated areas.”
Sweeney before and after removal
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has publicly criticized the App Store and its commission structure. In a July interview, Sweeney said he insists Apple and Google stifle innovation with their app store policies.
In Apple's case, Sweeney called the App Store an “absolute monopoly” and that Apple had “locked down and damaged the ecosystem by inventing an absolute monopoly on the distribution of software, on the monetization of it.” At the time, Sweeney added that if developers could receive their payments instead of paying “30% tax,” the savings could be passed on to “all of our consumers and players who would get a better deal on products and you would have economic competition ”
Sweeney has been protesting transaction fees for quite some time: in comments in 2017, he stated that the models are “pretty unfair” and that companies like Apple “pocket a huge profit from your order – and that’s not true.” ” I don't really do anything to help [developers] anymore.”
Epic also operates its own app store for PCs, a competitor to Steam and other companies. While it benefits developers to receive a smaller 12% cut on transactions, the company has also engaged in practices that some may consider anticompetitive, including paying developers to launch exclusive games that are only available through its storefront and not from competitors. Epic has also partnered with Facebook to release an exclusive version of one of its VR games, “Robo Recall,” for the original Oculus Rift.
In a June interview, Sweeney also suggested that the Epic Games Store could be coming to mobile platforms, including a version for iOS, in the near future.
“We think this is a good way to help the industry grow, and it's another way that Epic, as a game developer, has built an audience around Fortnite and learned how to manage a distribution platform on PC and Android,” Sweeney said .
On August 15, following the deletion and the initial lawsuit, Sweeney substantiated the lawsuit in a series of tweets. Characterizing it as a consumer and developer choice rather than a more lucrative financial transaction, Sweeney suggested that it is a fight for “the freedom of people who buy smartphones to install apps from sources of their choosing, for the freedom of app creators to distribute them as they choose.” they choose, and the freedom of both groups to conduct business directly.”
Sweeney also acknowledges the argument that some may view the fight as “just a billion-dollar company fighting a trillion-dollar company over money” before conceding that “there's nothing wrong with fighting over money.”
He elaborates on this by stating, “You work hard to earn this money. When you spend [sic] it, how it is divided determines whether your money goes to making games or is taken by middlemen who exploit their ability to separate gamers from game creators.”
“The fight is not because Epic wants to make a special deal, but because of the fundamental freedoms of all consumers and developers,” Sweeney suggested.
It is worth remembering that Sweeney's position may not necessarily be entirely altruistic. “Fortnite” generates extremely high revenue for Epic, including through in-app purchases on iOS, and has done so since it first appeared on the App Store in 2018.
As for Epic itself, Chinese tech giant Tencent owns a 40% stake in the company. Tencent has had disagreements with Apple over payment processing in the past: in 2018, a spat involving WeChat money transfers between people outside of Apple's payment systems was resolved by “mutual understanding.”
Appeal to allies
To try to strengthen its position in Epic's fight against Apple, Epic was reportedly looking to find other companies with a similar opinion about the App Store. Epic has allegedly reached out to other companies over the course of several weeks to try to form a so-called “coalition” of Apple critics.
The list of companies allegedly included Spotify, which supported Epic's lawsuit shortly after it was filed. Spotify has already been facing Apple through an antitrust complaint since 2019.
While it's not clear whether the coalition exists or what its specific goal is, Epic appears to have gotten what it wanted in the form of a slew of heated takes on Apple criticism from across the tech industry.
On August 20, a group of major newspaper publishers contacted Tim Cook to persuade them to change their subscription fees. caused by the fight with Epic. Current policy stipulates that the App Store commission is set at 30% for subscribing to a publication through the app in the first year, but it drops to 15% in subsequent years.
A group of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post, instead want to remove the 30% fee in favor of reducing it to 15%.
In the letter, written by trade body Digital Content Next, the group refers to a deal Apple struck with Amazon in 2016 that included a 15% reduction in transactions for customers signing up for a Prime Video subscription. like an in-app purchase. The letter asked Apple to “clearly define the conditions that Amazon has met as part of its agreements so that DCN member companies that meet those conditions can be offered the same agreement.”
Korean investigation demands
Meanwhile in Korea, a group of companies filed a petition with the Korean Communications Commission , claiming that Apple and Google's in-app purchase policies are illegal. The group, the Korea Startup Forum, objected to how much Apple and Google were charging, as well as the lack of alternative payment options.
“While the 30 percent fee is too high on its own, what is even more problematic is that they are imposing a special payment system for app markets,” the consortium said. Moreover, it is considered more unfair to smaller companies that cannot try to negotiate different commission rates with app stores.
He also suggested that both Apple and Google could raise their fees without consultation, potentially reducing developer profits or making apps more expensive for consumers.
Apple's First Statement
Apple's initial public salvo in the August 18 battle was relatively simple and consisted of from a clearly written statement that accused Epic of being wrong and not fixing “the problem that Epic created for itself.”
Apple's statement begins by assuring the reader that the App Store is “designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers.”
Apple then mentions that Epic is “one of the most successful developers in the App Store, growing into a multi-billion dollar business reaching millions of iOS customers” and that Apple wants to keep Epic at Apple. Developer program and application offering in the App Store.
“The problem that Epic created for themselves could easily be solved if they submitted an update to their app that brought it back into compliance with the guidelines they agreed to and that apply to all developers,” reminds Apple.
The statement concluded: “We will not make an exception for Epic because we do not believe it is right to put their business interests ahead of the principles that protect our customers.”
More public marketing
In an attempt to capitalize on anti-Apple sentiment within its player base, Epic has launched the FreeFortnite Cup tournament, the FreeFortnite Cup tournament, which starts on August 23rd. The tournament offers a wide variety of prizes, including digital items such as the “Tart Tycoon” skin, reminiscent of the Apple character from the parody ad.
Epic also offers physical prizes, although again with a decidedly anti-Apple slant. Approximately 20,000 “Free Fortnite” caps will be distributed, with designs reminiscent of Apple’s “Think Different” products. Meanwhile, the 1,200 other prizes include consoles and PCs, which are also platforms on which players can play Fortnite without going the Apple route.
Epic also gave players the option to print the “Free Fortnite” image on their clothing and other items in the event if they lose. However, the resource pack requires users to confirm that they will leave the “Free Fortnite” text on the image when using it and not edit it to leave the rainbow-colored llama head.
Apple Email Chains and Reporting
Apple's First Legal Statement The response to Epic's lawsuit against Apple on Friday was long and interesting for many reasons. Mainly, he urged a US federal court in San Francisco to reject Epic's claims for an “extraordinary” restraining order that would return Fortnite to the App Store.
Essentially, Apple described Epic's behavior in adding its own proprietary payment system to bypass the 30% fee as similar to the behavior of a shoplifter. “If developers can avoid digital payment, it will be the same as if a customer leaves an Apple retail store without paying for a stolen product: Apple will not receive payment,” the document says.
The complaint further states that Sweeney contacted Apple executives and asked Apple for a “side letter” that the company would enter into “a special agreement just for Epic that would fundamentally change the way Epic offers apps to Apple ” iOS,” said Apple App Store CEO Phil Schiller.
Specifically, Epic said it wants to bypass App Store fees by getting permission to implement direct payment systems. After being rebuffed, Sweeney responded by telling Apple that Fortnite “will no longer comply with Apple's payment processing restrictions.”
The lawsuit, which included a compilation of emails between Apple and Epic, refutes Sweeney's earlier statement that he did not want a “special deal” because he appeared to be asking for one.
The email chain begins with a June 30 message from Sweeney to Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi and Matt Fisher outlining Epic's intention to use a competing payment processing option. The email also states a desire to create “a competing Epic Games Store app, available through the iOS App Store and direct installation, that would have equal access to core operating system features for installing and updating software as the iOS App Store itself, including the ability to install and update software as easily as in the iOS App Store.”
Epic has given Apple two weeks to “in principle” approve the rival app store and payment processing. “If we do not receive your confirmation, we will understand that Apple is unwilling to make the changes necessary to enable us to provide Android [sic] users with choice of app store and payment processing,” Sweeney's post concludes.
On July 10, Vice President of Apple & Assistant General Counsel Douglas G. Vetter contacts Epic General Counsel Canon Pence about the “disappointing” email with a lengthy message explaining why Epic is wrong in this case. Pointing to how Epic has achieved great success in the App Store, including earning “hundreds of millions of dollars from in-app content sales,” Vetter emphasizes, “Epic couldn't have achieved this success without good apps, but it's still Highlights Apple's value to benefit developers like Epic.”
Vetter points to security and consumer trust in the App Store in his argument against creating an Epic Store app, including Apple's investment in significant resources to ensure “privacy, security, content and quality standards.” Apple won't allow other app stores to be offered because Apple “would have no credible way” to meet its obligations to consumers in four areas and consumers “would hold Apple accountable for any performance shortcomings.”
Despite assurances that the Epic Store will ensure device protection and consumer privacy, Apple “cannot be confident that Epic or any developer will adhere to the same stringent privacy, security and content standards as Apple.” .
Citing Sweeney's June 16 tweet that “it's up to the creator of a thing to decide whether and how to sell their creation,” Apple agrees. “However, it appears that Epic wants to make an exception for Apple and dictate how Apple develops its products, uses its properties, and serves its customers.”
A week later, Sweeney acknowledges the clear response to Epic's requests, and also criticizes the decision to delegate the response to Apple's legal team in order to create “such a complacent and self-righteous company.” serving screed.”
Almost a month later, on August 13, Sweeney emailed Apple executives and Vetter again, saying that Epic would “no longer adhere to Apple's payment processing restrictions” by introducing direct payments in the Fortnite app.
“We choose to walk this path with the firm belief that history and the law are on our side,” Sweeney writes. “Smartphones are essential computing devices that people use to live their lives and run their businesses. “Apple's position that its device manufacturing gives it free rein to control, restrict, and tax consumer trade and developer creative expression is contrary to the principles of a free society.”
Sweeney signs off, saying that Epic “would unfortunately find itself in conflict with Apple on multiple fronts – creative, technical, business and legal” if Apple took “punitive action” by blocking the app or the future. updates.
The last two Apple emails in the chain were sent by Apple. One explains that the Fortnite app violates the App Store Review Guidelines in various ways, and another explains an email notifying Epic that it has terminated. access to the Apple Developer Program, again for several violations.
Epic objects, and Microsoft agrees
On August 23, Epic filed a rebuttal to Apple's lawsuit in an attempt to clarify Apple's arguments against Epic's injunction motion the day before it was due to take place.
Epic's reasoning included calling Apple's argument that Epic was asking for easier tool recalls to be “mandatory, not prohibitive” as incorrect. Epic said it wants to “maintain the status quo.”
As for Apple's belief that the recall is authorized by contracts, Epic says that is incorrect because Apple “does not acknowledge the existence of numerous contracts between Apple and Epic's subsidiaries and programmers,” namely licensees.
Arguments that the “balance sheet is tipped” in Apple's favor and that the proposal is harmful to the “public interest” are rejected by Epic because they do not include the actual claims applicable to the denial of access to the developer. tools for working on Unreal Engine.
Regarding Apple's claim that Epic did not provide evidence that its Unreal Engine business would be “significantly harmed,” Epic refers to numerous statements included in the original petition, as well as other elements that emerged after the filing.
This includes a statement from Microsoft in which it confirms that it has a “multi-year enterprise-wide Unreal Engine licensing agreement” and that it has invested significant resources in customizing the engine for its own products. including for iOS devices.
“Epic's denial of access to the Apple SDK and other development tools will prevent Epic from supporting Unreal Engine on iOS and macOS, and will also jeopardize Unreal Engine and the game creators who have created, are creating, and can create games “is at a significant disadvantage,” Microsoft writes.
Epic also goes so far as to say in the lawsuit, “The scale of Apple's retaliation is itself an unlawful attempt to maintain its monopoly and to suppress any actions by others who may dare oppose Apple.”
On August 24, the companies met with U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for their first hearing in the case of Epic v. Apple.
The ruling found that Epic could not demonstrate irreparable harm from Apple's ban on Fortnite and that the situation was Epic's fault. Epic's arguments failed to outweigh “the general public interest in requiring private parties to honor their contractual agreements or in resolving business disputes through normal, albeit expedited, procedures.”
Apple argued that Epic's direct payment integration was done intentionally to provoke a legal fight, which Epic's lawyers later admitted was necessary to force Apple's hand.
While Fortnite has been removed from the App Store and will remain there for the foreseeable future, Apple has been ordered not to take any action against developer Epic Games International's account. The SARL organization is responsible for licensing Epic's Unreal Engine, and banning access to this account would limit updates to the engine and harm the developers who license the software in the extension.
“Apple has chosen to play hardball and in doing so has impacted third parties and the third party developer ecosystem,” Rogers wrote. “The stock is really going up against Apple in that regard.”
“Epic Games and Apple have the right to sue each other, but their dispute should not create chaos for witnesses. Of course, while the temporary restraining order is in effect, the status quo in this regard must be maintained.” – the sentence says.
Apple applauds the court
Following the California court's decision, Apple released a statement to AppleInsider and other platforms applauded the decision.
“We thank the court for recognizing that Epic's problem is entirely its fault and that it has the power to resolve it. Our highest priority is to ensure that App Store users have a great experience in a safe and secure environment, including iPhone users who play.” Fortnite and are looking forward to the next season of the game,” Apple said.
“We agree with Judge Gonzalez-Rogers that the “reasonable course of action” is for Epic to comply with the App Store rules and continue to operate while the case continues. If Epic takes the steps the judge has recommended, we would happily welcome the return of Fortnite to iOS. We look forward to going to court in September.”
A hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction against Apple is scheduled for late September.
Epic says it will not make changes
On August 26, Epic Games advised Fortnite players not to expect updates to the app as Apple was “blocking” updates and new installs through the App Store. While this statement is true, it doesn't mention how the situation came about after Epic went against Apple.
The Seasonal Update on August 27th will be available on all other platforms on which the game can be played, but not on iPhone, iPad or Mac.
The addition to the game's support pages suggests that Epic will continue to refuse to comply with Apple's guidelines for the foreseeable future, leaving the game's future in doubt until the legal action between the two companies ends.
New salvoes between the two companies
On the same day that Apple was set to shut down Epic Games' developer account, the Cupertino tech giant highlighted prominent rival Fortnite in editorial content for the App Store.
The editorial content touts the “new era” of “PUBG Mobile” and is especially ironic amid the ongoing legal battle since “PUBG Mobile” is built using Epic Games' Unreal Engine. Apple was also set to shut down Unreal Engine developer Epic Games' account, which is separate from the one that powers Fortnite, but a judge blocked that alleged retaliation.
Last night, Epic Games also sent out an email to Fortnite players on macOS and iOS, blaming Apple for being the sole reason for the popular battle royale game's absence from the App Store. In fact, the court denied Epic's request for a TRO because the situation appeared to be its fault.
Antimonopoly interests of Germany
On September 2, it became known that Germany's Federal Cartel Office is closely monitoring the legal disputes between Epic and Apple with a view to potentially launching an antitrust investigation.
“This has certainly piqued our interest,” said office manager Andreas Mundt. “We’re at the beginning of this journey, but we’re looking at it very closely.” Mundt further noted that the existence of the App Store and Google Play Store is “an interesting environment because they are the only ones in the world.”
Although the Federal Cartel Office may impose fines, it is more likely that officials will instead try to force changes in the way app stores operate.
“Incalculable harm to users”
Epic has made a second attempt to convince a court to force Apple to keep Fortnite available for download on September 5th. While the original attempt was an emergency measure by the company, the new version was a more formal petition to the court.
After Apple was accused of violating antitrust laws and abusing its power, the company “used that same power to try to force Epic to comply with its unlawful restrictions,” Epic said. He went on to suggest that Apple's actions “will cause irreparable harm to Epic, as well as harm to countless third parties and the public interest.”
This apparently applies to the Fortnite community as well, as the game's removal from the App Store has “cut off millions of users from their friends and family” and sparked a “deafening” outcry from users. At the time of filing, Epic said it had seen a 60% decline in daily active users on iOS.
Epic also concluded that “the balance of losses is clearly tilted in Epic's favor, as it stands to lose significantly more than Apple, which “at best will lose some commissions from Epic.”
Epic p>The documents included numerous statements from key Epic employees, communications between the two companies, a paper from the co-executive director of the Jevons Institute of Competition Law and Economics at University College London about Apple's antitrust issues, and a collection of consumer emails.
Apple has responded to Epic and is seeking damages for breach of contract
In a countersuit dated September 8, Apple called Epic Games' lawsuit “nothing more than a fundamental disagreement over money.” The Cupertino tech giant added that “while Epic bills itself as a modern-day corporate Robin Hood, it's actually a multibillion-dollar enterprise that simply doesn't want to pay anything for the enormous value it gets from the App Store.”
Apple has confirmed that Epic has fired the first salvo in the legal saga by creating a direct payment system in Fortnite. The countersuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, calls Epic Games' conduct “willful, brazen and unlawful,” adding that Epic has earned more than $600 million from the App Store.
In addition, Apple said that Epic's introduction of a direct payment system to bypass App Store fees was a “stealth attack” on the app market.
The lawsuit asks the court to hold Epic liable for breach of contract and return the revenue that Fortnite received through its direct payment system. It also calls for a permanent ban on direct payments across all Epic apps on the App Store.
Goodbye ” Sign with Apple” — or not
On September 9, Epic Games informed consumers that Apple would “no longer allow users” to authenticate using the Sign in with Apple feature for Epic Games accounts starting September 11, warning consumers to update their accounts to move. away from it.
The next day, Epic announced that Apple had granted an “indefinite extension” to Epic Games' access to logging in with Apple. However, users are still advised to update their accounts.
In its statement, Apple said it does not intend to actively disable compatibility with Sign in with Apple.
Sweeney's Twitter thread
On September 9, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney wrote that that Apple missed the larger point of what Epic was doing. The thread, which says Apple is oversimplifying Epic's actions in its countersuit, is attempting to sway the court of public opinion on the issue.
Sweeney argues that Apple has expanded its influence over consumer devices too much, that all users should be able to install software freely, and that developers should be able to create and share apps as they see fit.
That's exactly what Apple's 1984 ad was about. Make computing personalized, overcoming the terrible precedent of IBM mainframes, when computer owners essentially had to simply rent out devices controlled by an all-powerful company.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 9, 2020
After touching the famous 1984 Apple ad and hinting that the current situation is “exactly what” the commercial was about, he continues to say, that Epic's parody struck back at an unjust system. Apple allegedly undermines the rights of consumers and developers by acting as an intermediary to “exert control and extract money.”
App Store guidelines for gaming services
On September 11, Apple adjusted some App Store guidelines to allow online game streaming services such as Microsoft Xcloud and Google Stadia to exist on iOS. While they aren't directly related to the Apple-Epic fight, they cover similar territory.
Apple does not allow the Apple Store in the App Store, as Epic wanted to implement, but it does allow games from such streaming services to be submitted to the App Store as a separate application, including the product's own App Store page displayed in charts, it can be viewed , manage it using ScreenTime, and follow other App Store rules.
A “catalog app” must also meet requirements, including allowing users to “pay for a subscription with an in-app purchase” and use “Sign in with Apple,” as well as linking to games on the service, pointing users to the App Store. lists instead of your own website.
It's important to note that the rules still allow the service to include confirmations of purchases outside of the app, allowing access to content without using Apple's payment mechanisms, but this must be done entirely outside of the app, and not the way Epic implemented it as a separate payment option in the application.
Apple says Epic is using the controversy as a marketing tool for “Fortnite”
In a September 16 statement, Apple accused Epic of using the entire “Fortnite” controversy on the App Store to promote a game that Apple says , is declining in popularity on iOS.
“For reasons that have nothing to do with Epic's claims against Apple, Fortnite's popularity is waning,” Apple said in a statement. “By July 2020, interest in Fortnite had decreased by almost 70% compared to October 4, 2019. This lawsuit (and the front-page headlines it has generated) appears to be part of a marketing campaign designed to drum up interest in Fortnite.” Apple also denies that Epic suffered the alleged reputational damage, suggesting that “Epic conducted a full-scale, pre-planned media campaign surrounding its decision to break its agreement with Apple, creating advertising campaigns around the effort that continue to this day.” day”.
“If Epic were truly concerned that its reputation would be damaged by this controversy, it would not have made such an elaborate effort to publicize it,” he continues. “By all accounts (including the #freefortnite campaign), Epic believes its behavior here will generate goodwill, enhance its reputation, and drive users to Fortnite, rather than the other way around. It's not harmful.”
Epic denies marketing activities
In rebuttal, Epic refutes Apple's claims because it “cherished” the data. Apple's 70% claim was apparently based on Google Trends search volume data, which began with a surge in interest caused by a popular in-game event.
In fact, Epic claims that the number of daily users increased “more than 39%” over the same ten-month period.
In response to this statement, Apple's claim that “it is not a monopoly” was refuted due to a comparison in which smartphones were “interchangeable” with computers and game consoles for digital store comparisons. Epic said that “this statement flies in the face of basic antitrust principles and common sense: a Sony PlayStation won't fit in a pocket, but a smartphone will.”
Coalition for App Fairness
On September 29, a number of prominent app developers formed the Coalition for App Fairness. The nonprofit's goal is to highlight the challenges developers face when developing apps for the App Store.
The development team includes Epic Games, Spotify and Tile among its founding members, as well as Deezer, Match, News Media Europe and ProtonMail, among others.
The creation of the group comes at a sensitive time for Apple, as the company is also under multiple antitrust investigations into its App Store dealings.
He published a list of ten principles that app stores should follow, and includes many of the complaints previously mentioned by Apple critics. These include decentralizing app hosting, preventing self-preferential practices, and reducing Apple's fees.
Apple and Epic Games must attend a court hearing as the US District Court for the Northern District of California investigated the case. AppleInsider will report on the arguments and decisions that arise.
During a lengthy and spirited hearing on September 28, Apple and Epic took turns trying to make their case to the judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. Epic sought to reinstate the Fortnite app on the App Store and protect accounts associated with Unreal Engine from any further harm from Apple.
Judge Rogers appeared unconvinced by Epic's arguments throughout the two-hour hearing. Among the problems was that Rogers emphasized that this was Epic's own doing at a time when Epic's lawyers insisted that Apple's actions against it caused harm and that Epic forced Apple to intervene in the matter.
Rogers also pushed back against Epic's repeated claims that Apple is a monopoly and faulted Epic for not being “candid” with Apple itself. The judge even took time to voice Epic's bizarre argument that Apple couldn't compare a smartphone to a gaming console due to its size and portability, to which Rogers responded by citing the Nintendo Switch's existence in that form.
The judge suggested a jury trial because these were “important cases that are on the antitrust frontier.” Rogers also suggested that a federal judge's opinion might not be as helpful as the general public's because “it's quite important to understand what real people think.”
Rogers has set a deadline of Jan. 6 to submit data for the study, but the trial itself will take place sometime in July 2021 at a date to be determined.
A decision on Epic's claims was expected to be announced at a later date.
On September 30, Apple and Epic filed a motion with the court to that after the meeting the decision should be made by the court itself and not by the public.
Apple initially insisted on a jury trial, but withdrew its request to simplify the proceedings. Citing Judge Rodger's admission at the preliminary hearing that she didn't want to “try two cases” and was “tended to try both cases at the same time,” Apple said it was willing to forgo a jury trial to move the case forward.
“Fortnite” is no longer sold in the App Store
On October 9, Judge Rogers' decision in Epic v. Apple was released, with mixed results for both Apple and Epic. While Epic was successful in protecting developer accounts associated with Unreal Engine, it was denied a request to force Apple to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store.
“While consumers are feeling the effects of this litigation, the fact remains that these are business disputes,” Rogers said in the Fortnite ruling. “A class action lawsuit on behalf of all developers regarding the same issues was already underway when Epic Games violated the agreements. However, Epic Games never adequately explained its rush beyond its disdain for the situation. The current predicament is of its own making.”
As for Unreal Engine, Rogers believes that removing access to accounts could harm developers. “Apple's aggressive targeting of individual contracts in an attempt to completely eradicate Epic Games and its subsidiaries from the iOS platform was unnecessary and endangered a thriving third-party developer ecosystem,” the judge wrote.
In a statement to AppleInsider, Apple thanked the court because it “recognized that Epic's actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they violated their agreement.”
Lack of discovery
In a joint statement filed on October 13 ahead of a case conference scheduled as of October 19, Apple and Epic were complaining about the other side's handling of the disclosure portion of the lawsuit. Both claim in different ways that the other is uncooperative.
Epic has accused Apple of failing to provide all required documentation, with the list of Apple custodians used to collate and provide relevant documents reportedly not including co-founder and late CEO Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook.
Epic also said that Apple “repeatedly relied” on the two men during its previous motion hearings, but Apple countered by pointing out that they were relied upon twice, namely in Tim Cook's statement to the US House Judiciary Committee and “AppleInsider article from quote from Steve Jobs.
Apple says it has provided Epic with “3.6 million documents” produced by Apple in the developer-consumer class action lawsuit, although Epic believes they could have been provided sooner.
Epic claims it “initially produced more than 16,000 pages from the files of Timothy Sweeney,” Epic's CEO, but Apple believes Epic may have “cherried” documents that could “omit a significant number of relevant materials.”
Apple also claims that Epic received a third-party discovery request before it filed its lawsuit against Apple, to which Epic allegedly advised Apple to “just wait a little while” and then filed the lawsuit before responding to the subpoena to court.
Epic denies theft
On October 23, Epic filed another lawsuit, arguing that its actions “fall far short of the harmful—even allegedly criminal—activities portrayed by Apple's opposition.” This refers to Apple's claims that “Epic's flagrant disregard of its contractual obligations and other misconduct have caused Apple significant harm.”
“Simply put, Epic did not “stole” anything that belonged to Apple. Epic could not and did not “steal” revenue from sales of its own creative efforts. Epic also did not interfere with any perceived economic benefits that Apple sought to gain from “Fortnite” users decoupling their interest in “Fortnite,” the document states.
Epic then accuses Apple that Apple's theft charge amounts to “the extraordinary allegation that Epic's collection of payments from Epic game players for the use of the work of Epic artists, designers and engineers is taking something that belongs to Apple.”
Epic was “forced to agree to make Apple its agent” for Apple Store sales as part of the licensing agreement, and then openly admitted that by “offering Fortnite users the ability to make purchases directly from Epic, Epic violated those contractual provisions (assuming they were legal. )”
Players with Epic Credits
On November 10, Epic issued credits to Fortnite players on macOS and iOS players who purchased the in-game currency V-Bucks, allowing them to use their purchases on other platforms, while updates to the iOS and macOS versions of the game were effectively blocked.
MacOS players received credit equivalent to unspent V -bucks purchased directly from Epic, and iOS players received the equivalent of currency purchased through the App Store itself.
Apple's counterclaims are limited to breach of contract
In a November 11 filing, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted Epic's motion for judgment on counterclaims based on torts asserted by Apple. This essentially waived all of Apple's counterclaims except those for breach of contract.
Apple defended its arguments by arguing that Epic is “stealing money from Apple” and “a victim of theft has always had the right to sue for conversion to recover their property from the thief – regardless of the technical means by which the conversion has been carried out.” successful.”
The judge believed that Apple could not prove any wrongdoing on Epic's part other than breach of contract.
Fight in Australia
On November 18, Epic filed a complaint with the Federal Court of Australia, taking Epic's legal battle against Apple to a new continent. Apple was accused of “substantially lessening competition” and “abuse of market power,” echoing the arguments of its US lawsuit.
“Apple has locked down and damaged the ecosystem by establishing an absolute monopoly on distribution and limiting in-app purchases,” Epic claims. “They inhibit the development of entire categories of business applications and software in their ecosystem, and this excessive control is harmful to competition, choice and innovation.”
As in the US case, Epic is not seeking damages in Australia against Apple.
Apple wants the Australian case tossed
The following month, in December, at the first hearing in the Australian case, Apple argued that Epic Games was contractually promised to settle disputes and litigation in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Thus, Apple wanted the case in Australia to be dismissed.
Epic argued to the court that the case involved “serious harm to competition” and violated Australian law.
Federighi and Cue demanded testimony
December 16 Lawyers Epic Games has demanded the removal of Apple's Craig Federighi and Eddie Cue as part of a lawsuit in the US. Both companies worked to prepare testimony and depositions, with Epic's request being part of an effort to discredit Apple.
Epic's lawyers explained to U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixon that Epic should be allowed to testify from two executives. Hickson delayed a decision on the request, but told Apple that “extraordinary circumstances” would have to be proven to prevent the pair from being deposed altogether.
At that time, Apple had reportedly accepted 14 subpoenas for witness testimony, including a four-hour meeting with CEO Tim Cook.
Epic also added that it is too early to decide what witnesses are needed in this case.
Fortnite gifts promoting Samsung
In another bet To gain support, Epic Games and Samsung launched a guerrilla marketing campaign on December 21st. It involved sending influencers packages with the logo and text “Free Fortnite.”
The set, packaged in an Apple-themed box, included an Alpha Industries MA-1 embroidered bomber jacket for $160 and a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet.
Prepare seven dishes 1-hour interrogation
Back in the United States, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixon ruled on February 1 that Tim Cook must submit to seven hours of questioning. At the same time, he denied Apple's attempt to sue Samsung over how the game was distributed.
Hickson disagreed with Apple's argument against this and removed Cook from the trial, suggesting that the argument “limited the length of testimony rather than prohibiting it entirely.” Apple's compromise of four hours was considered inadequate.
“In these three antitrust lawsuits, the facts of the case go far beyond the historical facts of what happened and when,” the court concluded. “There's really no one like Apple's CEO who can talk about how Apple views competition in these different markets that are the core of its business model.”
When asked by Apple to subpoena Samsung for internal documents, Hickson rejected the request, calling it “almost unusual.”
Samsung is not a party to the case.
“Disappointing” Apple will pass on information about payment processing
On February 2, Magistrate Hickson ordered Apple to hand over payment processing documentation and make “best efforts” to provide it. This was in response to previous requests that Apple claimed would take time to produce due to the company's size.
“You're not really proposing a solution to this problem,” Hickson told Apple legal counsel Jay Srinivasan of Gibson Dunn & Crutch. “You just say, 'No, we can't do that.' I find it frustrating and unsatisfactory.”
Apple countered that it had already produced about 10 million documents during the discovery process, versus Epic's 5 million. Moreover, the company argued that some of the information requested by Epic could have been provided as part of the existing document collection, and that Epic was still withholding some information.
Epic contacts the Australian Commission Competition and Consumer Protection
Since the lawsuit in Australia is not enough for Epic Games, on February 4 the company referred the legal dispute between Epic and Apple to the country's regulator. The ACCC said Apple's “unfettered market power” stifles competition and innovation and artificially raises the prices of iPhone and iPad apps.
The forced “30% Apple tax” underscores the price, Epic said, insisting that the true fee should be closer to the single digits.
“Apple's behavior is symptomatic of unchecked market power, which is causing significant harm to Australian consumers and the competitive process. Without these anti-competitive restrictions, app developers will have more opportunities to distribute their apps, leading to increased competition and innovation. for the benefit of Australian consumers,” Epic said in a statement.
Epic previously praised the ACCC for its investigation into alleged abuse of power at the App Store.
Epic months spent planning a dispute on the App Store
Epic's decision to add payment processing functionality to Fortnite was intentional, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed in an interview on February 10. Months were spent developing the battle plan, starting in August 2020.
The planning allowed Epic to prepare a 60-page lawsuit, as well as a parody video in what it called “The Project.” Freedom.”
“Epic's frustration with Apple, especially and Google to some extent, has been building for at least three years,” Sweeney said. “Ever since Fortnite gained a large audience, We were choked by several things.”
Sweeney further argues that these efforts are aimed at encouraging the free market and that the company is willing to invest heavily in trying to change the software industry. He wouldn't reveal how much the project is currently costing in legal fees or lost sales, but admitted it has cost “lots and lots” of senior management's time.
App Store bill drafted by Epic Games lobbyists rejected in North Dakota
A North Dakota bill that would have forced Apple to allow alternative payment mechanisms and app downloads outside the App Store was allegedly created by assisted by Epic Games. On February 16, it was announced that Senate Bill 2333 was referred to lawmakers by a lobbyist hired by Epic Games.
Lobbyist Lacey Bjork Anderson, hired by Epic as well as the App Fairness Coalition, reportedly provided North Dakota State Senator Kyle Davison with a draft of the bill. Apparently this amounted to a way to “stop Apple and Google from forcing companies in the state to hand over a share of their app sales.”
Later on the same day that Epic's alleged involvement was leaked, the North Dakota State Senate rejected the measure.
The bill appears to be designed to hurt Apple the most if it is voted on and enacted. For example, it excluded gaming consoles, while the Google Play Store already allows for alternative app marketplaces.
Although it failed in North Dakota, the fight over app store regulations is far from over. The New York Times reports that lawmakers in Georgia and Arizona are considering nearly identical laws. A Massachusetts representative said he is considering a similar bill, and app store legislation is also moving forward in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Epic Games filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU
After North Dakota rejected an anti-Apple bill, it filed an antitrust complaint in the European Union against Apple, continuing the two companies' dispute over the App Store. Despite disagreements with both Apple and Google, Epic Games singled out Apple in the complaint, which the Fortnite developer said eliminated competition.
“The very future of mobile platforms is at stake.” says Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney in a company blog post about the complaint. “Consumers have the right to install apps from sources of their choice, and developers have the right to compete in a fair marketplace.”
“We will not stand by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field,” Sweeney continued. “This is bad for consumers, who pay inflated prices due to the complete lack of competition between stores and in-app payment processing. And that's bad for developers, whose livelihoods often depend on Apple's complete discretion over who is allowed to use iOS. platform and under what conditions.”
The blog post said the company “has faced and been harmed by Apple's anti-competitive restrictions.” It says Apple's removal of Fortnite from the App Store was in response to Epic Games giving users the option to pay the developer directly.
Epic did not mention Google or the EU agreement in its blog. complaint despite Google removing “Fortnite” from the Play Store at the same time and for the same reason as Apple. The report also implies that Epic Games was forced into this dispute due to Apple's actions, but does not mention that CEO Tim Sweeney admitted to spending months ahead of time on a “battle plan.”
Apple did not respond to the EU's request. antimonopoly declaration. However, the company recently noted that “Epic's problem is solely their own and the solution is theirs.”
The valve pushes back request for Apple store data
On February 19, a court document revealed that Apple demanded that Valve Software provide sales data related to its Steam storefront. Apple wanted the data to show video game sales and distribution since 2015.
Apple needed annual sales of apps and in-app products, annual advertising revenue, sales of third-party products related to Steam, and annual revenue and annual revenue for Steam itself. There were also requests for lists of each app's title on the Steam store, availability dates, prices, and in-app product details, as well as one request for historical sales data.
Valve refused because the requests were burdensome, although technically accessible. Since there are a large number of steps to complete for each individual application, it becomes a huge amount of work.
Moreover, Valve claims that since it does not manufacture or sell smartphones and tablets, nor does it sell games for them, there should be no conversation about it at all. The Steam store sells PC and Mac games, not mobile games, and it certainly doesn't offer Fortnite, a game available directly from the Epic store.
Apple's requests stem from the court's repeated demands that Apple and Epic mutually define a market for the case. Apple believes this covers the entire gaming market, given the similarity of App Store prices to console and Steam game stores.
Epic prefers a much narrower definition than Apple.
Epic UK complaint lacks jurisdiction
Epic's January 14 complaint in the UK was dismissed on February 22 following a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Judge Roth ruled that Epic's legal challenge could not properly proceed in the UK because the court lacked jurisdiction.
Epic's complaint was filed against Apple UK and Apple US, the former being a subsidiary of the latter. Both were attacked in the complaint, with Epic arguing that the UK unit provided support to UK developers of apps that end up on the App Store.
Judge Roth ruled that Apple UK “is not a party” to developer agreements and is not responsible for Apple US's decisions about which apps appear on the App Store. The judge suggested it was “difficult” to see how Apple UK could be held liable for competition law violations committed by Apple US.
Moreover, since the court did not have jurisdiction over the US division, the lawsuit against Apple could not continue as is.
However, elements of the complaint were still able to build a case against Google, which was Epic Games' second target.
Arizona State Bill tries to allow the use of third-party payment systems
After the failure in North Dakota, another bill similar in nature appeared on February 22. An Arizona bill slated for a vote in the state House of Representatives is limited to dealing with payments, not third-party app stores.
The bill does try to push the adoption of third-party in-app payment systems. The bill would prohibit companies with more than 1 million downloads from Arizona users from requiring the use of certain in-app payment systems as their sole mechanism.
There are also provisions to prevent retaliation against app makers who use a third-party payment system. More specifically, similar language is used to exclude game consoles and music players from the proposed rules.
The bill's co-sponsors, State Representatives Regina Cobb and Leo Biasiucci, argue that the bill could end Apple and Google's “monopoly” in their respective mobile ecosystems.
The Arizona House of Representatives appropriations hearing featured Apple representatives touting how the App Store has democratized software by placing earlier development and distribution burdens on developers that would have been more costly before the App Store came along. .
Scott Forstall is missing
In Epic's February 23 update against the lawsuit Apple Apple said it had problems with Scott Forstall, the former senior vice president of iOS at Apple. Forstall was asked to testify in December, which Epic accepted and believed Apple would provide dates for when it would happen.
By February 5, ten days before the end of the investigation, Apple told Epic that Forstall had not responded to requests to testify. Apple provided Epic with an email address and Twitter address when asked to provide contact information from Epic, but said it was not authorized to disclose Forstall's phone number.
Epic demanded that Forstall's testimony take place after the discovery period, and Apple appeared to agree by an arbitrary March 10 deadline.
In a filing with the court, Apple said it did not object to Forstall's testimony and indicated that it expected its own attorney to represent Forstall at his deposition. Apple “never intended” to force Forstall to attend.
Forstall has kept a very low profile: his last major public appearance took place in May 2020. His Twitter account was last updated on October 29.
Apple salts the earth with data requests as judge orders Valve to hand over data.
In an updated version of the US lawsuit dated February 25, Valve Software failed to stop Apple's request to obtain data on games sold through the Steam gaming service. Magistrate Thomas Hickson approved the request for data on 436 games sold on Steam, but limited it to a four-year period starting in 2017.
In his ruling, Hixton noted that Valve was not the only company to receive a request from Apple, but did not specify which companies were affected. The judge's response also suggests he is wary of Apple because the iPhone maker has salted the earth with its numerous legal requests.
Valve has until the preliminary hearing begins in March to provide the data.
Minnesota joins the fight against apps Account per store
Continuing this trend, a third bill appeared in Minnesota on February 26 that wants to give app developers the ability to bypass the App Store's in-app purchase mechanism. Echoing two other states, the bill wants to allow developers to use third-party payment mechanisms instead of being limited to Apple and Google's respective systems.
Like Arizona's bill, Minnesota's version avoids North Dakota's inclusion of alternative app stores. It includes elements to prevent tech giants from retaliating against developers for using other payment systems.
Trial in the Apple-Epic lawsuit will take place in May, possibly in person
District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided that the trial between Apple and Epic in the Northern District of California should take place in May. In a decision made at a leadership conference on March 1, Judge Gonzalez noted her preference for this to occur no earlier than May 3.
Judge Gonzalez also wants to conduct the trial in person rather than virtually. This will force witnesses to appear in person in the courtroom and also quarantine them for two weeks after the event.
The in-person trial was held because the case was important enough to be held non-virtually, the judge said. There is also the suggestion that witnesses may be more truthful in their testimony after taking the oath in court itself.
Measures will be taken to protect all participants, including appropriate social distancing and limited access. Allowances for remote depositions will be available in cases of poor health or where travel is not practical.
Although the trial is scheduled to be held in person, ongoing COVID-19 concerns may force the court to return online. Despite this, Judge Gonzalez hopes that it will still take place in May.
Arizona voters appear to support app fairness bill
A poll sponsored by the Coalition for App Fairness and conducted by Data Orbital shows Arizonans support the state's HB2005 proposals to break up App Store payment monopolies.
Results released on March 16 show that 69% of people supported the bill, while 18.9% did not support it. Another 11.8% of the 550 people surveyed were undecided on this issue.
When asked whether tech companies have “too much power and influence over our lives,” 80.6% generally agreed, while 62.2% responded “strongly.” 77.4% agreed that companies like Apple and Google “are large monopolistic companies that put their interests above the needs of small businesses and individuals.”
The survey items are somewhat questionable because participants were not provided with complete information on the topics covered. For example, although they were informed of a 30% commission, the policy of discounting application fees to 15% for companies with revenues under $1 million was not mentioned. Not without discounting the same fees for app subscriptions that will last longer than a year.
Cook, Forstall and other executives established to testify
In a preliminary witness list submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on March 19, Apple made 11 current and former executives associated with the App Store available for live questioning. A number of others will be available for deposit.
Those who will give live testimony include:
- CEO Tim Cook
- Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi
- Apple Employee Phil Schiller
- App Store Vice President Matt Fisher
- Director of Commerce and Payments Eric Gray
- Senior Director of Developer Technical Services K.K. Haun
- Senior Director of Marketing Tristan Kosminka
- Senior Director of Partnership Management and Global Developer Relations Shaan Pruden
- Head of Game Business Michael Schmid
- Head of Fraud, Algorithms and Risk Eric Friedman
- Former iOS executive Scott Forstall
Listed Cook is expected to sit for an hour on questioning and cross-examination, and a 10-minute recap in which he will talk about Apple's corporate values, the development and launch of the App Store, and industry competition. Federighi will need just over three hours, and Schiller will testify for a total of 11 hours.
Epic is expected to call its current and former executives as witnesses, including CEO Tim Sweeney, COO Daviel Vogel, former CFO Joseph Babcock and VP of Marketing Matthew Weissinger.
The trial will begin on May 3.
Apple announces Epic selfish ' at a hearing in Australia
During an Australian court hearing on March 23, which decided whether to postpone consideration of the complaint against the App Store, Apple called Epic Games a Goliath that is not trying to help local developers. Instead, Epic made a “self-serving” attempt to change the App Store itself.
Apple lawyer Stephen Free SC told the court that “the essence of the dispute… is that Epic wants to redefine the terms of access in very fundamental and self-serving ways.” Epic apparently wanted to ignore its “contractual promise to litigate only in the Northern District of California,” he continued, and that Epic's changes would fundamentally impact Apple's business model.
In turn, Neil Young QC, appearing on behalf of Epic, challenged the limited venue litigation, stating that “The mandatory and protective laws of this forum override any private choice of jurisdiction.”
A decision had not yet been made, but Judge Nai Perram said it would be delivered “fairly quickly.”
Court sets timetable for Epic-Apple trial
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's March 23 order on Epic's pre-trial ruling against Apple reported that the court had reviewed preliminary lists of witnesses and outlined a schedule for the trial itself.
Both parties will be given 45 hours “to use in any manner necessary for the trial.” On top of that, the court will also read up to four hours of testimony for each side, but any time used beyond that allotted time will be removed from the main 45-hour pool.
Affidavits and counter-affidavits must be submitted for all objections resolved by April 27, and copies of exhibits must be submitted by April 29.
The court also ordered the parties to hire a retired judicial officer to resolve any objections. Both parties should also meet and confer to determine whether an escrow schedule needs to be agreed upon to permit third party arbitration of the objections.
The number of participants in the trial is limited due to concerns about COVID-19
On March 26, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers limited the number of people who could attend the trial in person in California. Apple and Epic will be limited to a maximum of six people per side in the courtroom at any time.
Attendees must wear masks, regardless of coronavirus vaccination status. Members of the press and public will not be allowed into the courtroom, but will be able to listen to the live audio broadcast.
Epic adds complaint to UK competition regulator's App Store investigation
On March 4, the UK Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into Apple and its App Store following a series of complaints about “unfair terms” for developers and other related charges. On March 30, it was revealed that Epic had joined the effort by filing its own complaint with the CMA.
Expressing its support for the investigation into alleged anti-competitive behavior, Epic said Apple's control over app distribution and payments “constitutes a clear breach of the UK Competition Act 1998.”
“By crushing competition to its knees and leveraging its monopoly power over app distribution and payments, Apple is denying UK consumers the right to choose how and where they get their apps, while locking developers into a single market that allows Apple to charge whatever commission it wants by choice,” said Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.
Facebook and Apple clash over Epic docs dispute
A joint letter filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on April 5 reveals disagreements between Facebook and Apple's legal team Apple has requested a “limited set of documents” needed to cross-examine Facebook's Vivek Sharma.
Facebook calls the request for about 17,000 documents allegedly related to the case an “untimely, unfair and unjustified request for re-finding of facts” because the social network has already provided more than 1,600 documents.
Apple claims that Facebook ignored its requests to send additional documents. Facebook responded by calling the timing “incorrect” because the request was made after the end of the discovery period.
Epic lays out its case as the victim of the party
Court documents dated April 8 show that Epic believes it was harmed by Apple's control of the App Store and its “arbitrary” review decisions. A lengthy 365-page report from Epic lays out the case against Apple with multiple arguments.
Among his arguments is the claim that while Apple says it must use the App Store in its current form to keep iOS secure, the same logic doesn't work for macOS. In the case of the Mac, Epic notes that Apple claims macOS is very secure and does not force developers to sell only through the Mac App Store.
It also criticizes claims that the app review process is robust, including citing internal documents in which Apple's head of algorithms and fraud risk Eric Friedman compared App Store security to “bringing in a plastic knife for fuel in the firefight.”
Other points include Apple's alleged mistake in launching “Fortnite Chapter 2”, Epic's knowledge that Apple will likely remove “Fortnite” from the App Store due to payments, and surprise at Apple's decision to close accounts Epic developer notes.
Aus case is suspended until the trial is completed in the USA
On April 9, Australian judge Nai Perram granted Apple a three-month delay to consider Epic's lawsuit against Apple. A permanent suspension could occur if Epic does not file a claim in the US alleging breaches of Australian consumer law within this period.
A further stay could be applied if Epic continues to litigate in US courts, although the case could be returned to Australia if a California court refuses to hear the charges.
Tim Cook on Epic trial
April 12 In an interview about developers in Canada, Tim Cook discussed the Epic Games lawsuit.
In an interview, Cook said of Apple's supposed dominance: “I believe that Apple does not dominate any market in which it is located. There is tough competition everywhere.”
Cook also believes the crux of the complaint is that Epic wants to use its own payment information, but “that would turn the App Store into a flea market, and you know the level of trust you have in a flea market.”
As for Apple's chances at the May 3 trial, Cook is optimistic. “I believe that if we tell the story, the facts, if we can communicate them clearly, then I am confident that we will win.”
Court warns against surprises in court
April 12 In a filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denied Apple's request to block Epic from allowing certain third-party witnesses into the trial.
Apple wanted to exclude three witnesses from tech companies, arguing that Epic violated rules by listing employers instead of the real names of witnesses. Epic rejected the claim, saying it correctly disclosed the names when it learned of the identities.
The judge sided with Epic and denied Apple's motion before reminding both sides what the court expects from the trial.
“The court has repeatedly indicated that the trial is not an occasion for surprises,” the document says. “Instead, the Court is given the opportunity to carefully consider and weigh the relevant evidence to reach a final decision. This dispute is no exception.”
Epic receives $200 million from Sony
Epic completed a $1 billion funding round on April 13 that will raise additional funds for the company ahead of litigation.
In the funding disclosed, Sony is increasing its minority stake in the company with a $200 million infusion. Others include Appaloosa Management, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management and funds managed by BlackRock, KKR and ParkWest.
Witness that Apple will have to modify software and hardware to enable third-party app stores
On April 14, Apple provided its expert witness testimony before the trial in the Epic case. One of the documents is a rebuttal from Dr. Daniel L. Rubinfeld, who claims that Apple will have to “redesign its hardware and software…to make the iPhone compatible with alternative app stores and with apps that are not subject to Apple's app review program.” methodological recommendations.”
Epic founder Tim Sweeney tweeted that he called the claim “nonsense” because iOS already “has a mechanism to allow users to install apps from the web” through Apple's Enterprise Program. “Only contractual restrictions prevent suing for the distribution of consumer software.”
Apple provides written testimony
On April 27, Apple submitted documents supporting the formal written testimony of seven expert witnesses submitted to the court ahead of the May 3 trial. Witnesses include economics professors, legal representatives and marketing experts.
The seven witnesses are:
- Lauren M. Hitt, Ph.D.
- Francine LaFontaine, Ph.D.
- Richard Schmalensee, Ph.D.
- Daniel L. Rubinfeld
- Dominique Hanssens, Ph.D.
- Aviel D. Rubin, Ph.D.
- li> James E. Malakowski
Facebook Epic suspended its gaming director
Facebook's Vivek Sharma was previously listed as a witness in the Epic case against Apple, but on April 28 it turned out that he had been suspended.
The vice president of games was at the center of a disagreement between Apple and Epic over documentation. Apple demanded a “limited set of documents” from Facebook to cross-examine Sharma, a request Facebook called “unlawful.”
Apple wanted the court to block documents “inadvertently” sent to Epic
Three documents were sent to Epic related to Apple's small business program, which Apple said was accidentally included in a pretrial disclosure, an April 28 recording showed. Three threads of emails related to the development of the program, as well as legal discussions about protecting the program from potential fraud and money laundering.
Apple claims that the documents contain sensitive information, so Epic should not use them in the trial. Epic determined that the return was improper and that Apple had apparently previously verified the documents were in order before allegedly “reversing course.”
Epic dropped Fortnite from MS Microsoft refused to host Fortnite on the xCloud gaming service because Epic saw it as competition, as revealed testimony that appeared on April 28.
Although Epic worked with Nvidia to include the game on its similar streaming service GeForce Now, testimony showed that Nvidia agreed that all “Fortnite” revenue generated on the platform would go to Epic.
Since Microsoft doesn't allow rival app stores to use its platform directly and also doesn't allow third-party payment platforms, it is believed that this could be another reason for Epic to abandon xCloud.
The documents also showed that iOS is not Epic's main source of revenue from Fortnite. While iOS accounted for about 7% of Epic's revenue, Sony's platforms actually generated more revenue and contributed about 46.8% of revenue.
App Store Revenue Estimates
Appearing May 1, Epic Testimony Witness- expert Ned Barnes, a financial and economic researcher, claims how much Apple makes from the App Store.
According to the expert, according to documents received from Apple, the operating profitability of the App Store was 77.8% in fiscal 2019, compared to 74.9% in 2018.
Moreover, because an Apple employee allegedly told Barnes that the numbers did not tell the full story, the expert did the calculations to arrive at new estimates. It has been suggested that the actual percentage was around 79.6% for both years.
Epic's opening arguments
The trial began on May 3, when Epic filed opening arguments against Apple . In it, Epic details its complaints and also takes early shots at Apple.
Epic accused Apple of having a monopoly on iOS app distribution and payments in the App Store, and then explained that the lawsuit aims to change the ecosystem for all developers because “the market is not capable of self-correcting.”
Epic compared iOS to macOS, with iOS allegedly intentionally turning into a walled garden ecosystem. According to Epic, Apple could easily adopt a more open distribution like macOS.
Also mentioned is the 30% fee Apple charges, and emails from Apple executives show how the company itself is considering changing that percentage. Other attacks have also been aimed at the App Store's review process, perceived uneven treatment of developers, and complaints from developers that Apple's process is “arbitrary,” “unpredictable” and “inconsistent” in its application of its rules.
Epic also talked about its own Epic Games Store, which it said sells a variety of apps, including non-game apps and tools, as well as free content. “Fortnite,” the game that started the entire saga, is being cited as a place to connect, and Epic’s “Metaverse” initiative is being pitched to consumers as a way to experience gaming experiences with other brands, such as live concerts or movies. sessions.
The opening argument also touched on areas such as latency in native apps compared to streaming apps, and that Apple was not aware of cases where customers switched from iOS to Android due to app prices.
Apple strikes back with its opening statement
In response, Apple offered a counterargument in its opening statement: Epic's revenue from “Fortnite” appears to have begun to decline. Instead of innovating, Epic allegedly turned to litigation.
“Epic, a $28 billion company, has decided it no longer wants to pay for Apple's innovation,” said Karen Dunn, who represents Apple. “So, Epic wants the court to force Apple to allow unverified and untrusted apps and app stores into its App Store.”
Apple has far outperformed its competitors when it comes to privacy and security and has given developers the ability to maintain quality, reliable apps for consumers.
30% is the industry standard, but since most apps on the App Store are free, most developers don't pay Apple anything. Other monetization options are also available, such as in-app advertising.
Epic's market definition is also considered too narrow due to “multiple targeting,” namely the fact that there are multiple platforms on which “Fortnite” can be played. According to Apple, the majority of Fortnite players use other platforms, with iOS coming in third or fourth, depending on most research, indicating it is a competitive market.
By enabling alternative app stores and sideloading, Epic is asking Apple to turn iOS into Android and take away its competitive advantage, the argument goes, which is something neither Apple nor its customers want.
Epic Games is reportedly calling on the court to force Apple to license its own intellectual property in a specific way, namely to turn the case into a “duty-to-deal” case. Reference is made to the Qualcomm precedent, where the Ninth Circuit overruled a lower court and found that it had wrongly imposed antitrust duties on Qualcomm.
In fact, if Epic loses its case against Apple, precedent could pose a significant obstacle to an appeal.
The margin argument made by Epic, that Apple's sales profits are huge and making fees unnecessary, is disputed by Apple because the calculations only apply to one part of the iOS ecosystem. They don't take into account the software costs that Apple pays to run the App Store.
In conclusion, Apple notes that its business model is shared by many other companies, including Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. “If Epic wins, other ecosystems will fall too,” Dunn said.
Phil Schiller considered cutting App Store fees in 2011
Emails presented by Epic Games in its opening statement on May 3 revealed that Apple was internally considering changing the 30% commission to a different level.
In 2011, Phil Schiller asked Eddie Cue if “we think our 70/30 split will last forever?” At the time, Schiller called himself a “strong supporter” of Apple's 30 percent cut, but said he didn't believe it would remain “stagnant forever.”
Schiller suggested that Apple could eventually change the structure after the App Store reaches $1 billion a year in profits, reducing it to 25% or even 20% while keeping profits at 1 billion dollars.
“I know it's controversial, I just see it as another way to look at the size of the business, what we want to achieve and how we stay competitive,” Schiller said at the time.
Over time, Apple has made changes to its fee structure, including cutting the second-year subscription fee to 15% in 2016, and in 2020 it launched a program that reduces the percentage to 15% for companies earning less. more than 1 million dollars.
Tim Sweeney on platform agreements and V -bucks
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney spoke on May 3, saying that Epic “wasn't critical of Apple's policies at first” before eventually coming to “awareness of everything negative.” consequences of Apple's policies.”
On the question of whether there is a difference between Apple's 30% commission and similar commissions on console sales, Sweeney said there is a “general deal” in the gaming industry where consoles are sold at a loss and are required game developers. . Since Apple sells the iPhone at a profit, this deal is a non-starter.
Sweeney was also asked about the “special deal” he wanted Epic to make with Apple. He argues that for Epic it was more of an agreement with Apple rather than a request for special treatment.
As for the fateful repayment fix, Sweeney said he “wanted the world to see that Apple has complete control over the availability of all software on iOS.”
Moving on to V-Bucks, Fortnite's in-game currency, Sweeney said there's no real cost to producing them. When Sweeney is asked about selling V-Bucks on platforms owned by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, which have policies preventing side loading and requiring the use of a third-party payment system, Sweeney responds that Epic continues to sell there because it agrees with the business model on these platforms.
Sweeney also confirmed that Epic charged developers a 60% commission to distribute other games on its platform in the 1990s.
Sweeney also wasn't “totally confident” that Apple would remove the game from the App Store, but was “hopeful that Apple would reconsider its policy.”
Apple accounts for a third of gaming market transactions, 7% of Fortnite revenue
In a note to investors, JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee highlighted some of the apps on May 4. Details about the store were revealed during the trial.
For example, Apple estimates that it accounts for between 23% and 38% of the total gaming transaction market, supporting the view that Apple does not have monopoly power over the market.
As for Fortnite, Apple's platforms accounted for a measly 7% of Epic's revenue from the game between March 2018 and July 2020. Meanwhile, PlayStation and Xbox combined account for 75% of revenue.
Tension between Apple and Facebook goes back a decade
Emails brought up in Epic's lawsuit against Apple revealed that tensions between Facebook and Apple date back to 2011. Emails between Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller from July 2011 show a discussion between the men and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the Facebook iPad app. .
Forstall told Zuckerberg that “built-in apps” should not be included in the iPad app, while Zuckerberg insisted it was part of the “whole Facebook experience.”
As a compromise, Facebook wanted to exclude its app catalog in the Facebook app to prevent third-party apps from running in the “embedded web view”, to allow users to post app-related news feed posts, and to allow apps , connected to the news feed, could switch. users to the corresponding native app or Safari.
Jobs agreed with most of the proposals, with the exception of the third proposal regarding the news feed. Jobs also referred to the site as “Fecebooks”, although it is unclear whether the term was a typo or an insult.
Zuckerberg disagreed with the counterproposal because there was “no obvious way to distinguish” Facebook developers with the relevant integrations.
Schiller intervened, saying: “I don’t understand why we want to do this. All of these apps will not be native, they will not have any relationship or license with us, we will not review them, they will not use our APIs or tools, they will not use our stores, etc.”
Epic would&# 39; I have entered into a special agreement with Apple
On the second day of the trial, Sweeney took the stand again, admitting that if Apple had said there was a special agreement that would be made only with Epic and no other developers, then Epic would have agreed to the deal.
The question appeared to refer to Sweeney's earlier attempts to negotiate special treatment, but in an attempt to downplay the fact by implying that Apple was unwilling to offer such a deal or negotiate special treatment.
“The long-term evolution of Fortnite will open up Fortnite as a platform for creators to distribute their work to users, and creators will receive the majority of the profits,” Sweeney said. “With Apple taking 30% of the amount, it becomes very difficult for Epic and its creators to exist in this future world.”
In 2015, Sweeney also reached out to Tim Cook to try to make the App Store more open. In the request, Sweeney said: “The App Store has brought a lot of value to the industry, but Apple does not appear to be the sole arbiter of expression and commerce on an app platform that is approaching a billion users.”
He also asked Apple to separate App Store curation from compliance review and app distribution.
Apple's fight with Netflix
On May 5, the court heard that Apple had to take steps to convince Netflix to continue using its payment system once it learns of the streaming service's plans to offer in-app subscriptions.
In 2018, Netflix conducted a test to understand the value of removing in-app subscriptions in some markets. Internal emails mention “concerns” that the test will “degrade the customer experience” and could become a churn problem for iOS subscribers.
Apple's director of App Store business management, Carson Oliver, wrote to other Apple employees asking whether Apple should take “punitive action” in response to the lawsuit. Other emails said Apple executives met with Netflix to try to find a “middle ground.”
Apple also held a presentation to convince Netflix to commit to the IAP, as well as proposals for how Apple and Netflix could work together, including an Apple TV package and a “video partner program.” “>Facebook and Apple started back in 2011. Emails between Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller from July 2011 show a discussion between the men and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the Facebook iPad app.
Epic Developer Agreements Ban Rule Breakers
Apple Legal Team Takes 5 Actions May to point out that while Epic works to show that Apple adheres to restrictive agreements with developers and guidelines against rule breakers, Epic takes a similar position regarding the implementation of rules.
During the interrogation, Epic Games CTO Andrew Grant was asked if it was possible to ban people who cheat in Fortnite, to which he answered in the affirmative. In response, Grant was asked if Epic's brand is based on people having good experiences and that everyone is “on the same playing field.”
“If the integrity of the game falls apart and people believe that the rules no longer apply to them, then people will no longer want to play the game,” Apple lawyers continued, saying this could lead to a “downward spiral.” spirals” of the platform.
Without saying it outright, Apple is making a comparison to Epic's fix, which added an additional payment mechanism. Epic also has its own rules for developers using Unreal Engine and its own developer agreements.
Fortnite on iOS, via GeForce NOW
Fortnite will return to iOS, but not directly. Instead, it should return through the Nvidia GeForce NOW service.
The affidavit lists the game's “potential release date” on Nvidia's game streaming service as October, although there has been no official announcement outside the courtroom to confirm this.
Nvidia has secured the partnership through a deal with Epic that will give all revenue generated from the GeForce Now version directly to Epic. This removes any fees and commissions from the equation, such as those charged by Apple for IAP or competing xCloud service.
Apple Whitelist for Developers
Vice President of the App Store Matt Fisher told the court on May 6 about an email exchange with Apple's director of program management, Cindy Lin, about automatic cancellation of subscriptions in the App Store. Fisher wanted to know how Hulu could “switch people from IAP to Hulu Billing.”
Lin responded that Hulu is among a group of developers with access to a special refund and cancel feature that it used in 2015 to support instant upgrade using a two-family setup before Apple introduced built-in upgrade and downgrade capabilities.
Fisher denies that Apple has given special access to features to some developers and not others, but Apple sometimes tests features with a small group of app developers before rolling them out widely.
At Epic, Fisher mentioned another pre-load incident with Apple, where Epic asked Apple to change its policy to allow in-app gifts. Apple also “dropped everything we were doing and went all out” to promote Travis Scott's “Fortnite” concert, saying it was a “really cool concept.”
Schiller on scam apps in 2012
Phil Schiller was concerned about scams and counterfeit apps on the App Store back in 2012, additional documents released May 6 showed.
In Schiller's email to the App Store team about the apparently fake version of Temple Run, Schiller asked, “What the hell is this???” How does an obvious rip-off of the super popular game Temple Run with no screenshots, garbage marketing text and almost all 1 star ratings become the #1 free app in the store?” Schiller also brought other apps to the App Store team's attention, such as a fake palm reading app and another called “Hide My Fart,” which he insisted “should never have been approved.” ”
Apple acquired SourceDNA in 2016
In testimony The testimony mentions Apple's purchase of malware detection startup SourceDNA, an undisclosed acquisition that occurred in 2016.
The startup, which creates automated systems for checking applications for malware and malicious code, was previously in discussions with Epic Games for a possible acquisition in 2015. The XcodeGhost issue apparently sparked more interest at Apple at the time. buy SourceDNA, said Tristan Kosinka, senior director of the App Store Review process.
XcodeGhost is a malware that affected several applications in 2015. It included tools to secretly record information that violated Apple's rules.
After the acquisition, Kosmynka claims that SourceDNA engineers redesigned a new tool based on its technology, which became part of the App Store review process along with other malware detection tools.
Less than 1% of App Store review denials are appealed
As part of his testimony, Kosminka spoke about refusals in the App Store and the appeals process. One way to look at errors, he said, is to see that less than 1% of denials are actually appealed, with the vast majority upheld.
“I think the number of errors is a small part of the overall efficiency of the process,” Kosminka said, adding that Apple acknowledges that an error was made based on the number of appeals it received.
Human review stations in the App Store
May 7 , more information was provided about the App Store's human review process for apps, including images of the stations employees use to review apps. One image shows a variety of Apple devices, including an iMac, a MacBook Pro, a couple of iPhone models, several iPads, and an Apple TV.
The documents also contain information about the application review process. For example, between 2017 and 2019, application rejection rates ranged from 33% to 36%. The documents also show that between 4.8 and 5 million applications are submitted annually.
As for the processing time for applications to update the application, Kosminka said: “Some take hours, some take up to a minute.” The application rejection rate in 2020 was around 40%, which is higher than in previous years. About 215,000 applications were rejected due to privacy violations.
Among the top reasons why applications were rejected, 14% of cases required additional information, and 10% had errors in applications. Approximately 60% of submissions are updates.
128 million users iOS affected by 2015 XcodeGhost malware
Emails discovered during the trial reveal the extent of the XcodeGhost malware hack. In total, 128 million users downloaded more than 2,500 infected apps, with about 18 million of them living in the United States
The documents also suggest that Apple is trying to figure out how serious the attack was and whether victims need to be notified. The sheer scale meant that there were challenges localizing email for each country.
There is also mention of a bulk request tool that could be used to send emails, but there were restrictions on sending mass emails to 128 million people, for example it could take a week to complete.
Microsoft was denied request to bypass 30% commission
On May 7, an email chain from 2012 was discovered showing negotiations between Apple and Microsoft over its policies. In one case, on the eve of the launch of Office for iPad, Apple appeared to reject Microsoft's request to bypass App Store fees.
In an email exchange, Apple asked if Microsoft wanted to attend WWDC this year, but Microsoft declined. Microsoft wanted Schiller and Cue to meet with MS executives, including Kirk Koenigsbauer, to which Apple agreed.
However, Microsoft asked Apple to allow users to be redirected to its own website for app purchases, bypassing the 30% fee. Schiller denied the request, saying in an email, “We operate the store and collect revenue.”
Other emails between Apple and Epic have emerged showing that Epic executives sought to meet with Apple in 2017 about potentially using iPhone facial tracking technology to create animated characters. Discussions about ARKit continued into 2020.
After the release of the iPad Pro with LiDAR, Apple offered Epic a meeting with the ARKit team, and also considered promoting Epic Games at WWDC that year.
Apple files to cast doubt on testimony Microsoft
In the May 6 filing, Apple asked the court to make an “adverse finding on the credibility of the testimony of Laurie Wright,” who represented Microsoft at trial.
In her testimony, Wright mentioned that Xbox sales were not profitable and were a means to provide consumers with more hardware and earn more from game sales. Apple argued that the deposition did not include an income statement that could serve as evidence to support or refute its testimony.
Apple had previously heard about this link and requested documents to support this claim, but Microsoft has so far refused to provide the requested evidence.
Apple appears to be relying on what the court said on April 13, where it warned expert witnesses that if they fail to provide “sufficient relevant documents to both parties,” the court will “weigh such failure against the credibility of the witness testifying.” . Such a failure could “serve as grounds for refusal to testify,” which could benefit Apple's case.
Class action App $2 Billion Store in the UK
Although Epic's lawsuit against Apple directly targets the App Store, the issue of Apple's 30% commission has resurfaced in a new lawsuit in the UK.
The class action, filed on May 11 at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London, alleges that developer fees are being passed on to consumers. Apple is alleged to have overcharged nearly 20 million App Store customers in the UK for years through an “excessive” and “illegal” 30% reduction in IAP.
Up to £1.5 billion of damage is being sought. If the tribunal approves the claim, it will apply to all UK users who have paid for apps, subscriptions or in-app purchases on an iPhone or iPad since October 2015.
As with Epic's lawsuit, the complaint is accompanied by similar arguments, including allegations of anti-competitive practices.
Apple responded by calling the lawsuit “baseless,” saying the fees are “very similar to fees charged on all other digital marketplaces” and recalling that most developers are entitled to a 15% fee.
Epic witnesses criticize the anti-App Store steering provisions
On May 11, a pair of expert witnesses said Apple's anti-steering provisions prevented iPhone owners from knowing they could use some apps on other devices.
Economist David Evans pointed to measures that prevent developers from advertising outside of App Store platforms and websites. For example, while “Fortnite” V-Bucks can theoretically be purchased on the website and applied to an account rather than through iOS, Apple doesn't allow Epic to advertise this fact in the app.
While removing such barriers was expected to work “for now,” Evans suggested the solution might not be possible for apps that don't have a website or for consumers who don't have easy access to a computer.
Stanford economics professor Susan Athey also raised anti-steering in her testimony because consumers “can't tell by looking at their app on their iPhone where they'll find that app” elsewhere. . Subscriptions made on Apple's platform are also stuck in the ecosystem, Athey added, and the answer could be a “middleware” system that allows alternative payment platforms or cross-platform app stores.
In response, Apple pointed out that Athey had not analyzed how much money users would spend on redeeming applications and subscriptions, and also expressed dissatisfaction with Athey's ties to Microsoft.
Experts on switching gaming platforms
May 13 Experts Apple and Epic are at odds over whether iOS users are locked into the platform despite the presence of other gaming platforms.
According to Michael Cragg, chairman of economics consulting firm Brattle Group, other versions of Fortnite are not replacing the iOS game. Meanwhile, Apple's witnesses claim that players are not isolated and have a choice of where they can play the game.
“The Apple experts' hypothesis is that multiplatform play is a way to create a disciplinary force for the Apple App Store,” Cragg says, adding that “from a practical standpoint, this is not happening in the marketplace.”
Mobile gaming is not interchangeable with console gaming, as mobile gaming is more of a “fleeting experience,” according to Cragg, while console gaming is more like a Hollywood movie.
On Apple's side, Wharton University of Pennsylvania economist Loyne Hitt said that Apple doesn't have a monopoly on mobile gaming because developers have the ability to create games for other platforms.
Hitt's analysis of Fortnite players on iOS found that 10.2% of all Fortnite players used iOS on between March 2018 and July 2020, with the group accounting for about 13.2% of Fortnite's total revenue.
However, Fortnite retained a whopping 88% of a player's money spent on the game after Apple removed it from the App Store. Hitt says this demonstrates that consumers are “willing and able” to switch between platforms.
By May 14, it was discovered that the test had affected another major game on iOS, but in an unexpected way. Roblox developers have updated their website to call it an “experience” tool rather than a gaming platform, repeating arguments in the lawsuit.
Links to the word “game” have been replaced with “experience”, the title of one tab has been changed from “Games” to “Discovery”, and the word “players” has been replaced with “people”.
“Roblox” was mentioned in a deposition by Apple's senior director of app review, Tristan Kosminka, who was “surprised” it was approved in 2017.
The game was considered in court because various gaming experiences are being created by other developers within Roblox itself, which Epic hoped to use against Apple's ban on third-party app stores and packaging rules for cloud gaming services. However, Kosminka defended this endorsement by saying that neither “Roblox” nor any of its gameplay are actually games.
According to Kosminka, the games are “incredibly dynamic”, have a clear beginning and end, as well as set objectives. Although Roblox used maps and worlds and set boundaries within which the experience was limited, they were not games because they were contained within the sandbox of the application itself.
Expert says iOS could be like macOS without the security flaws
Epic Games expert witness Professor James Mickens of Harvard University laid out the differences between iOS and macOS in court on May 14. Differences included platform security, application distribution methods, and access to third-party applications.
According to Mickens, the app review process provides negligible security benefits over the built-in security of iOS itself due to the use of mechanisms such as sandboxing. When asked by the judge whether iOS was more secure than macOS, Mickens responded that it was “marginally more secure.”
Opening iOS to third-party app stores would not make a “significant security change,” he continued, and “it would not prevent users from only getting apps from the App Store.”
Mickens also said it would be easy to bring security features like malware scanning and notification to iOS.
Cook, along with former prosecutors, is preparing to testify in court Epic
On May 17, it became known that Tim Cook spent several hours a day practicing his testimony with the lawyers who spoke at the trial. It was believed that that Cook will appear during the final week of the trial to bring Apple's case to a conclusion.
The report alleged that Cook prepared by conducting mock rounds with former prosecutors selected by his legal team to try to simulate the expected experience of being a witness.
Schiller: WWDC costs Apple 50 million dollars a year
Phil Schiller's May 17 testimony revealed that Apple WWDC costs $50 million a year to host. While the event is not charged to the App Store, participating developers pay $1,500 per ticket, although it's unclear how much of the total cost is covered by ticket prices.
A new development center is being built on the Apple Park campus, which will allow developers to receive support from Apple engineers as they create applications. Again, the cost of the project is not charged directly to App Store operations since it is being created by Apple's technology division.
Schiller also mentioned that 5,000 people are working on refunds to Apple. The $99 per year fee for developers was a flat rate designed to remove barriers from the previous program, which Schiller said cost more than $3,500 and exists to ensure application quality.
Schiller on App Store commission, Amazon Streaming
Continuing Schiller's May 17 testimony, Apple is cutting fees from 30% to 15% on in-app purchases for select apps that support the Apple TV app.
“The Apple TV team met with premium content providers to talk about the work they are going to do to integrate this new experience. For example, they had to integrate with our voice assistant Siri so that we could find any show on any of them. application experience,” Schiller said.
He acknowledged that Epic Games' lawsuit helped him get approval for the 15% small business program. While Epic's lawsuit wasn't the reason for its creation, as it had reportedly been in development since 2016, “it definitely helped.”
As for anti-steering rules, Schiller said Apple doesn't automatically send customer emails to developers, but they can be requested. Once received, they can be used to communicate with consumers about in-app purchases outside of the App Store, but the emails cannot be targeted.
Apple's anti-fraud and anti-piracy team, the differences between gaming services and movie apps, and cloud gaming services were also discussed.
Schiller explains Apple's data collection and favoritism , politics
Entering his second day of testimony, Schiller was asked on May 18 about what data Apple collects about its users. Schiller refuted Apple's accusations that it did this to track users, saying location services are intended for “geographically relevant applications” and not to track users' locations.
Regarding the store-within-a-store rule, Schiller explained that the reason they are banned is that “all apps and services delivered through these stores are not reviewed by App Review.” He also defended a previous rule that told developers not to go to the press with App Store complaints because Apple didn't want disputes to be fought publicly with media outlets that didn't necessarily have “all the action.”
Schiller refuted the claim that the App Store favors Apple apps in search rankings because it uses 42 different factors, “regardless of whether the results show Apple apps more prominently.”
Other topics mentioned include the use of open source software, in-app payments, the differences between iMessages and Texts, Apple's own Contacts app, and the Apple Arcade team's efforts to reach out to online influencers for promotion.
Apple: App Store is not an important object& #39;
In a statement published on May 19, Apple asked the court for a partial ruling on one of Epic Games' lawsuits. Epic said Apple violated the Sherman Act by denying it access to the app and that iOS is an essential enabler.
Apple argues that Epic provided no support for its claim that iOS or the App Store are essential entities, and that in fact its expert rejected the idea that they should be treated as such.
Epic's claims were false because “Epic's own experience, as established by evidence at trial, confirms that there is nothing 'material' about iOS,” Apple wrote. Instead, Apple argues that “Epic's own experience, as established by the trial evidence, confirms that there is nothing 'material' about iOS,” Apple writes.”
Apple hoped that a decision could be made as soon as possible. the matter is completed.
Federighi criticizes Mac security to support iOS App Store
Speaking on May 19, Craig Federighi used questions about support for multiple app stores to tout the security of iOS compared to the Mac.
Many app stores “are regularly attacked on the Mac,” Federighi said, and that “there is a certain level of malware on the Mac.” Mac, which we don't find acceptable.”
“iOS has set the bar for customer protection significantly higher. Today's Mac doesn't meet that bar.”
Android is used as an example of the dangers of multiple app stores, pointing to a malware problem that is “well understood in the security community.”
He also compared macOS and iOS as products for different purposes. The Mac and macOS are like a car, requiring “a certain level of responsibility,” while iOS is meant to be secure enough for parents to let their kids use it.
Despite the failure of macOS, Federighi still insisted that the Mac is the “most secure” when used correctly.
Federighi also defended iOS's walled garden approach, suggesting that opening iOS would expose users to malware due to the use of untrusted download sources.
Apple earned more than $100 million from Fortnite
Apple's head of gaming business development in the App Store, Michael Schmid, told the court on May 19 that Apple earned more than $100 million in revenue from Fortnite. Schmidt did not specify a dollar amount or a figure greater than $200 million, although based on earlier statements from Epic itself, the figure could be closer to $300 million.
Schmidt said Apple also spent $1 million marketing the game on the App Store over the past 11 months.
Apple's attempt to exclude MS readings is distracting & #39;
Microsoft responded to Apple's attempt to exclude Xbox chief executive Laurie Wright's testimony on May 20, saying it was a distraction from Apple.
“Apple is attempting to distract from the legitimate concerns of many in the industry about App Store policies and practices, including its refusal to allow game streaming on the Apple App Store. “Epic speaks and acts for itself, Microsoft and many other companies have raised concerns in their own voices, including directly from Apple itself,” Microsoft said.
Wright's testimony was also spontaneous, but frank and thoughtful, Microsoft said, adding: “It is clear that Apple does not like Ms. Wright's testimony. That Apple has no basis to dispute the substance of her testimony , just as clear”
Apple App Store Expert Witnesses Security, Research and Development Costs
On May 20, several expert witnesses testified on behalf of Apple, the first of which was marketing professor Dominique Hanssens, who conducted research into whether iPhone and iPad users regularly used other devices to play Fortnite.
The results showed that 92% of users had other devices that they used regularly when asked by regular users. Among those who identified themselves as “Fortnite” players, that figure rose to 97%, with 94% saying they used this other device to play games.
Witness 2 was the CEO of intellectual property merchant bank Ocean Tomo, James Malakowski, who argued that it is important for intellectual property owners to have the right to determine how that intellectual property is actually used. He was hired to evaluate iOS's “innovation footprint,” including how other companies were using it.
According to his testimony, Epic was seeking “essentially a compulsory license to all intellectual property necessary to distribute applications to iOS users.”
Malakowski also estimates that Apple spent $500 million on research and development in 2015, a figure that will rise to $18 billion by 2020. Epic's prayer for relief would “take away Apple's control or provisions in its licensing agreements,” reducing its compensation. for the technologies he produced.
Network security expert Aviel Rubin spoke about the security of the App Store. Apple's centralized distribution model offers “significant benefits,” including lower malware infection rates and a smaller volume of malicious apps, Rubin said.
Rubin also suggested that attackers could use stores within stores to trick users into downloading infectious apps.
The cook takes the stand
May 21 Tim Cook left to the stand, as expected, at the end of the Epic v. Apple case.
His testimony began by reiterating that he had limited involvement in the day-to-day operations of the App Store and worked primarily as a reviewer.
“We've invested $100 billion since iPhone development began, and that number has only accelerated,” Cook said. “We are obsessively focused on the user and getting the customer to do the right thing.”
Safety, privacy and security were key components of Apple's strategy, Cook said, which helped create elements like app tracking transparency.
When it comes to R&D spending, Cook says his research efforts are benefiting the App Store. He also claimed that research and development is increasing every year. In 2018, Apple invested $14.2 billion in research and development. By 2019, this figure reached $16.2 billion, which is 14% more than last year. In 2020, R&D expenses reached $18.8 billion.
Cook said antitrust was not the driving force behind the small business program, but regulation “was in the back of my mind.”
Cook also compared complaints about anti-steering rules to Apple telling Best Buy to add a sign informing customers they could get an iPhone across the street.
He also denies that Apple is the dominant player in the smartphone industry and denies that Apple is making it difficult for users to switch from iPhone to Android. t break down profitability into a detailed structure.
If Epic had forced Apple to allow app downloads and third-party app stores, Cook said the result would have been disastrous. Apple already reviews 100,000 apps a week and rejects 40,000, and the ecosystem will soon become a “toxic mess.”
Cook objected to Epic's arguments about third-party data processing, pointing out that consumers would have to re-enter their card information and the possibility of fraud.
“In addition, we will have to come up with an alternative way to collect our commission. Then we'll have to figure out how to track what's going on and bill for it and then go after the developers,” Cook said. “It's like a process that doesn't have to exist.”
Judge presses Cook over App Store model and competition
During testimony on May 21, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers spent nearly 10 minutes directly questioning Tim Cook. This was the longest questioning she ever asked a witness at the trial.
Referring to Apple's desire to give users control, Rogers asked, “What's the problem with allowing users to have a cheaper option for content?” Cook responded that consumers already have a choice between “many different Android and iPhone models.”
Rogers pressed further, suggesting, “But if they want a cheaper Battle Pass and cheaper V-Bucks and don't know there's no such option, what's the problem with Apple giving them that option?” Cook explained that Apple still needs to get a return on its investment, but the judge didn't seem satisfied with that answer.
Judge Rogers said gaming apps generate a “disproportionate amount of money relative to intellectual property” and effectively “subsidize everyone else.” Apple's CEO said that gaming is done on the platform, so game developers have to pay a commission.
Then attention turned to comparisons with game consoles, and the judge said that Apple does not compete in the distribution of game applications. Cook countered by saying it competes with Xbox and Switch, as well as other platforms.
Rogers' questioning ultimately expressed skepticism about Apple's business model and doubt that the App Store's small business program was launched to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trial ends with the judge asking questions for the lawyers.
Instead of the usual closing remarks on the final day of the trial, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asked questions from lawyers for Apple and Epic.
Some disagreement arose over the definition of the operating system market, with Epic saying Apple competes with Google and Apple saying the comparison is “distracting.”
Epic further stated that there is no alternative to market distribution through the App Store, and that sideloading apps and allowing third-party stores could be considered as a solution.
Apple's behavior in terms of developer satisfaction and its policies, anti-regulatory provisions, and potential remedies for the entire situation were also discussed.
Class action status sought for another lawsuit
Separate user and developer lawsuits sought class action status for a number of antitrust lawsuits on June 4, shortly after the Apple-Epic lawsuit ended.
The motion sought class action status for several lawsuits pending before Judge Rogers, who also presided over the Epic-Apple trial, and the motion also makes several references to that lawsuit.
Epic condemns Apple App Store “propaganda”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter on June 24 to complain about Apple's marketing, saying, “I really hope corporate propaganda campaigns don't become a permanent feature of the tech industry.” Sweeney continued by suggesting that if a company has a problem, “just fix it and bear the cost.”
The comments come after Epic's 10-month campaign against Apple, which included its own propaganda video spoofing Apple's “1984” ad as well as ongoing #FreeFortnite advertising.
Apple asks Epic judge to review NCAA Supreme Court decision
On June 26, Apple's legal team filed a lawsuit consisting of a copy of the NCAA Supreme Court decision against Alston. The document was intended to be read by Judge Rogers as it “makes recommendations” for her future decision.
The Supreme Court's decision rejected the idea that the NCAA has immunity from federal antitrust law, and that the NCAA's attempts to limit compensation to student-athletes so they remain classified as amateurs must be subject to the same rule of reason. analysis applicable to antitrust cases.
Essentially, the Supreme Court is saying that courts should be wary of inferences based on the principle of reasonableness. It was believed that this decision probably helped Apple overall.
Epic lawsuit Apple in Australia is set for November 2022.
After the end of the trial in the United States, the Federal Court of Australia ruled on July 9 that a similar lawsuit in the country can continue. The decision overturns a previous decision that put the trial on hold pending a decision in the US case Epic v Apple.
On August 20, the country's Federal Court set a conditional start date for the trial for November 2022. Judge Nai Perram said he did not want to delay the trial any further.
Coalition for App Fairness was originally funded by Epic to assist with legal battles on the App Store
Epic emails found during discovery on August 20 – Lawsuit Disclosed Apple confirming the creation of the Coalition for App Fairness.
In emails dated May 15, 2020, Epic VP of Marketing Matt Weissinger suggested creating a coalition of like-minded developers and adding more questions to Apple's sales commission question.
Part of the data dump included a contract between Epic Games and The Messina Group, a coalition-building consulting firm. Epic was expected to spend up to $700,000 on the Coalition over its lifetime.
Although the group was intended to help promote Epic's ideals in its lawsuit against Apple, the Coalition did not appear to offer much material about the lawsuit on its website or in media materials, other than social media posts and some press releases.
The App Fairness Coalition says the agreement is a “sham.”
In settling a separate lawsuit, Apple agreed to create a $100 million fund for US developers, as well as give developers more direct access to users. An Aug. 27 commentary from the Coalition for App Fairness said the settlement was not enough.
“Apple's settlement offer is nothing more than a desperate attempt to avoid judgment from courts, regulators and lawmakers around the world,” the organization said in a statement. “This proposal does nothing to address the structural, fundamental problems.” challenges faced by all developers, big and small, undermining innovation and competition in the app ecosystem. Allowing developers to communicate lower prices to their customers outside of their apps is not a concession and further highlights Apple's complete control over the app market.”
“If this agreement is approved, app makers will still be denied access. “We will not be complacent with empty gestures and will continue to fight for fair and open digital platforms.”
Epic asks to reinstate developer account
On September 9, Epic said it had asked Apple to reinstate its developer account. The request was made as Epic intended to re-release Fortnite for iOS in South Korea.
On August 31, the South Korean government voted to force Apple and Google to accept alternative payment mechanisms on the App Store and Google Play. Since Fortnite, with its third-party payment mechanism, would be legal in the country, Epic wanted to release it to take advantage of the law change.
A day later, on September 10, Apple issued a statement that it would “welcome Epic back to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.”
However, Apple adds: “Epic has admitted to a breach of contract, and at this time there is no legal basis to reinstate their developer account.” Because developers must accept the App Store's rules and Epic has refused to do so, Apple has said it is not prepared to consider a reinstatement request until the rules are agreed upon with Epic.
The ruling states that Apple is not a monopolist and must allow alternative payment methods
In issuing her ruling on September 10, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers largely secured Apple's victory in court. Mainly for Apple, this was a confirmation that Apple is not a monopolist and that Epic cannot demonstrate Apple's monopolistic behavior.
Apple does have “a significant market share in excess of 55% and extremely high profit margins,” the ruling said, but this does not indicate antitrust behavior. “Success is not illegal.” There was no evidence of other critical factors that could be considered antitrust behavior, such as barriers to entry and a reduction in innovation in the market.
“The court does not consider this impossible; it only finds that Epic Games failed to meet its burden of proving that Apple is an unlawful monopolist,” the ruling said.
It wasn't a clear victory for the iPhone maker, however, as both sides won and lost in different ways.
For Apple, the biggest challenge is an injunction that prevents developers from including in apps “buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to in-app purchases and communications.” with customers through touchpoints voluntarily collected from customers through account registration on the app.”
In short, developers will not be forced to comply with Apple's anti-regulatory policies, which will prevent them from claiming that other payment mechanisms are available to consumers. Apple has 90 days to comply with the injunction.
Apple also prevailed in arguments that Epic violated its contract. Epic must pay Apple compensation equal to 30% of the $12 million it received from Epic's direct payment system, plus interest.
The judge also agreed that Apple did not take unfair action against Epic by cutting off access to its developer account.
Judge Rogers also concluded that Epic's claims were an attempt to control a large portion of the gaming market. “As a major player in the broader video game industry, Epic Games brought suit to challenge Apple's control of access to a significant portion of this submarket for mobile game transactions,” the judge wrote. “Ultimately, Epic Games went overboard.”
In response, Apple released a statement saying: “Today, the court confirmed what we have known all along: the App Store does not violate antitrust laws. As the court recognized, “success is not illegal.” Apple faces intense competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world.”
On Twitter, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney thanked the court and promised to “fight on.” Epic says it will appeal the decision.
Immediate reaction of the observer
The immediate reaction to the Epic v. Apple decision offered a variety of different views on the matter.
A longtime opponent of the App Store commission was glad that the court addressed the anti-steering provisions. “This and other events around the world show that there is an urgent need and momentum for legislation to eliminate these and many other unfair practices that are designed to harm competition and consumers.”
Advocacy group App Association said the decision illustrates: “Apple is not a monopoly and is preserving the services and benefits our members rely on to compete globally.” The changes still create the risk that several large companies could “avoid equal participation in App Store services.”
Small iOS developers seem to have expressed the view that Apple has lost much of the case. Meanwhile, analysts generally believe Apple will weather the storm in the long term.
Apple shares closed down 3%
At exchange As of the end of trading on September 10, the price of Apple shares fell by $5.10, or 3.3%, reaching $148.97 at the close of trading. Earlier in the day, trading peaked at $155.48 and then continued to decline shortly after 11 a.m. ET, around the time of the ruling.
Epic will appeal the decision
On September 12, Epic Games filed an appeal to appeal the decision to US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The multi-paragraph statement does not provide reasons or explanations for the appeal, or details that are expected to appear in a later and significantly longer document.
Regulatory headaches caused by the ruling
Judge Rogers' decision in the Epic case – Apple's lawsuit could cause problems for the US government because Epic failed to prove that Apple violated antitrust laws or that it was an “unlawful monopolist.”
The Epic v. Apple ruling is believed to pose an additional burden on the U.S. government's efforts to rein in tech giants for anti-competitive behavior. Because Apple was found not to have violated the Sherman Act, a law typically used to combat monopoly firms, this decision makes it difficult for others to use the same law against Apple in the same way.
Apple's justification for restrictions on developers under the guise of platform security could also be an issue, as Rogers said the market is two-sided. Thus, in lawsuits and courts, it becomes more difficult to determine the harms and benefits of multiple parties together.
Essentially, a plaintiff cannot try to prove harm to just developers or consumers, but will have to prove net harm to all the different groups using the platform.
Despite this, there is still a glimmer of hope for regulators as Rogers said Apple was “on the verge of significant market power or monopoly power” and that it also failed to truly justify the 30% fees for many App Store transactions.
2% worst-case scenario
Note to investors from Morgan Stanley September 13 an examination of the risks and impact of the Epic v. Apple decision on the App Store and Apple's profits suggests that Apple's damages could be fairly limited, even in a worst-case scenario.
This solution is expected to prevent developers from adding their own direct payment methods, but will allow developers to direct users to alternative payment systems outside of the app. The hassle of forcing users to manage multiple accounts instead of the App Store's quick and easy payment system could work in Apple's favor.
Few of the 30 million app developers in the App Store could afford to create so much friction, since most of them lack the brand, credibility and marketing budget to do so. Consumers' purchasing habits should also be taken into account, as they may be difficult to change at all.
It is estimated that if Apple were to lose all revenue from the world's 20 largest app developers (the so-called worst-case scenario), it would mean a 2% impact on revenue and a 5% decline in profits. -per share.
Epic pays Apple $6 million
On September 13, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed that the company paid Apple $6 million for violating App Store rules, in accordance with the judge's decision. Epic has been ordered to pay damages related to revenue generated from sales of Fortnite on the App Store following the company's decision to create a third-party in-app payment system.
Epic was ordered to pay Apple damages equal to 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue it received from Epic Direct Payment on iOS between August and October 2020, as well as 30% of the revenue received from November 1, 2020 to September 10, 2021
Fortnite won't be coming back to iOS or Mac anytime soon
On September 22, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that Apple had decided to exercise its right to remove the company from the App Store, meaning “Fortnite” would not be returning for now. Apple lawyer Mark Perry's letter to Epic also states that Apple will not consider further requests for reinstatement until “the district court's decision is final and not subject to appeal.”
The process could take up to five years, Sweeney said.
Apple will appeal the decision
On October 8, Apple filed an appeal in the US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers' ruling in Epic's recent lawsuit against Apple seeks to uphold an injunction that would force changes to the App Store's anti-steering provisions.
Apple's argument continued by arguing that directing users to alternative payment mechanisms is an inherently dangerous proposition, such as by sending users to malicious websites. It also undermines Apple's efforts to combat fraud.
Epic responds to the appeal
Epic filed an appeal opposing Apple's appeal on October 23, saying Apple had not done enough to legally prove that the changes would cause it irreparable harm, even if they were temporary.
Epic said Apple failed to meet legal standards that require it to show it would be harmed by compliance, using Apple's positive comments after the ruling and a delay in filing a stay of the injunction as indications that everything will be fine with Apple.
“The public interest favors denial (Apple's appeal); injunctive relief is the only path to effective relief,” Epic’s argument states. “History shows that, absent an injunction, Apple will not make any changes.”
Apple partially complies with the injunction
In an Oct. 30 filing, Apple told the court it had complied with part of the injunction and was appealing to have the rest of the injunction lifted. The statement said that “immediate implementation of this aspect of the ban would compromise the integrity of the iOS ecosystem.”
Furthermore, since Epic Games does not have the right to enforce or enforce an injunction due to the lack of a developer account and products on the App Store, therefore the injunction should not be granted. Review.
The court denies the petition about the delay of the App Store changes
Apple's request to delay changes to the App Store rules as part of the resolution of the Epic lawsuit against Apple was denied on November 10. At a short court hearing, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denied the request.
“In short, Apple's motion is based on a selective reading of this court's findings and ignores all of the findings supporting the injunction, namely, incipient antitrust conduct, including hypercompetitive commission rates that resulted in extremely high operating margins and which were not correlated with the value of its intellectual property.” , writes Judge Rogers.
Epic's Sweeney's Rails vs. Apple in South Korea
At the App Fairness Coalition's global conference on mobile app ecosystem fairness in South Korea in November, Epic Games' CEO continued to attack Apple and Google as the main app platforms.
“Apple brings a billion users into one store and payment system,” he said. “Apple now complies with repressive foreign laws that spy on users and deny them political rights. But Apple ignores the laws passed by Korean democracy. Apple needs to be stopped.”
Sweeney also called Google “crazy” over its fee system and praised the country's new regulation of app stores.
Apple takes second step against injunction
On November 18, Apple's lawyers made a second attempt to spare Apple from having to make changes to its App Store policies before the December 9 effective date, this time in the Court of Appeals.
“Apple Inc. “has been ordered to change its business model in a way that will harm customers, developers and Apple itself,” the company said in a statement. “The ban should be administratively suspended before it takes effect on December 9 and remain in place until appeals are resolved.”
“The district court erred by issuing a nationwide class injunction in a single-plaintiff case brought by a developer that has no apps on the App Store, failing to demonstrate the absence of harm from the provisions at issue, and failing to directly challenge or seek to enjoin them,” The document continues.
“The overwhelming evidence shows that hastily enforcing this unlawful and unfair injunction will harm Apple,” Apple says. “Apple should not be required to change an integral part of its business model that already exists.” more than ten years until this court decides on the merits of the appeals.”
Apple is trying to file last-minute appeal
Approaching the case on December 2, Apple asked a higher court to delay changes to the App Store.
This time, Apple supported the same arguments, but added that their implementation would be a monumental task that could take “months” to complete and would also be detrimental to everyone involved.
“Given the effective date of the injunction on December 9, Apple seeks an immediate administrative stay, which will expire 30 days after the court's decision on the stay petition,” the document states.
Apple immediately stated that “the App Store will have to be reconfigured – to the detriment of consumers, developers and Apple itself.”
Apple fails get the lawsuit against Epic Australia dropped
Although Apple is successfully handling its claim in the US, it is not having any luck in Australia. The temporary stay of the claim was overturned in July by a full bench of the Federal Court in Sydney, and the Canberra High Court rejected Apple's request for special leave to appeal in December.
As well as dismissing Apple's appeal, the High Court also awarded Apple legal costs.
The decision means Apple's Australian case will continue, possibly starting in November 2022.
Apple by still intends to receive its fair share
In a brief filed in the US District Court for the Northern District In December, Apple supported a bid in California to uphold an injunction that would force it to allow developers to add alternative payment links to apps or buttons.
Importantly, Apple's lawyers rejected Epic Games' proposal that Apple would not receive a cut of transactions that would occur outside the App Store.
“This is false “Previously, Apple did not charge fees for purchases of digital content through buttons and links because such purchases were not authorized,” it said. “If the injunction goes into effect, Apple will be able to charge fees on purchases made through such mechanisms.”
Essentially, Apple plans to implement some way to collect fees from developers, even if they were paid outside of the App Store.
Apple received a deferment of the antisteering ban
On December 8, Apple won a bid to suspend the anti-steering bans that were supposed to come into force on December 9. Those provisions, included in Judge Gonzalez Rogers' ruling, would have forced Apple to allow developers to add links or buttons to alternative payment options in the app.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said Apple may have the necessary time to argue its appeal of the decision. Both Apple and Epic Games have appealed the court's decision.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Apple's previous motion to vacate the injunction.
Profile of the Coalition for app fairness reveals efforts against Apple
A December 2021 profile of the Coalition for App Fairness describes how the group was created, expanded, and how Epic participated.
The profile stated that Epic initially planned to spend “$80-$100 thousand” to launch the Coalition, which was seen as an attempt to shed the gaming company's “failed company” image. “sympathetic” player, working with other smaller firms.
Despite the apparently pro-Epic and anti-Apple stance, the group does not appear to believe this is a means of suing Epic, and the founding members are keen to avoid such an appearance.
As part of the organization's practices, it assigns roles to specific member companies based on their expertise. For example, some focused on strategy and communications, while others leveraged their relationships with international governments.
Nvidia GeForce Now brings Fortnite back to iPhone
Although Apple did not allow Epic to return Fortnite to the App Store itself, the game returned to iOS and iPadOS through an alternative route.
On January 13, Nvidia and Epic announced that Fortnite will be playable through the GeForce Now cloud streaming service. Instead of a dedicated app, Fortnite will be playable through the Safari browser, using its own touch-optimized mobile variant instead of the existing PC port.
Nvidia opened registration for beta testers to participate in a limited trial later that month.
Epic: App Store antitrust judge made too many legal errors in ruling
In a Jan. 20 appeal, Epic said Judge Gonzalez Rogers “erred” in her antitrust rulings on the lawsuit. Epic's lawyers say the judge erred in her interpretation of evidence and testimony and disagreed with the judge's position on Apple's market power.
Insisting that Apple “illegally maintains its monopoly in the iOS app distribution and in-app payment markets to the express exclusion of all competitors,” Epic says the judge did not define the market as Epic did. nor in the broader definition proposed by Apple.
Epic is seeking that the Sherman Act claims and Apple's breach of contract judgment be vacated and supplemented with injunctive relief. He also wants the appeals court to admit there are errors in the decision, which would force the case to be retried with additional instructions on how to rule.
If the decision is not overturned, Epic argues, “the decision would undermine well-established principles of antitrust law and, as the district court itself recognized, would undermine sound antitrust policy.”
Department of Justice, 34 US states support Epic
In a joint letter, the attorneys general of 34 states and the District of Columbia told the appeals court that Apple continues to “stifle competition” with its monopoly in the App Store. The January 28 letter strongly supports Epic in its lawsuit.
“Apple's conduct has harmed and is harming mobile app developers and millions of citizens,” the states said. “Meanwhile, Apple continues to monopolize app distribution and in-app payment solutions for the iPhone, stifle competition, and amass ultra-competitive profits in the nearly trillion-dollar-a-year smartphone industry.”
The US Department of Justice also sent its own letter, although it was not signed by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter. Kanter previously served as lead attorney for the Coalition for App Fairness.
Microsoft reports appeals, Apple's lawsuit should be stopped
By continuing its lawsuits against Apple, Microsoft has joined the list of people who have filed confirmatory claims in court. Microsoft's Feb. 1 statement offered strong support for Epic Games.
In its statement, Microsoft said it has a “unique and balanced view of the legal, economic and technological issues this case raises” and is “committed” to supporting antitrust enforcement. since it sells both hardware and software, like Apple.
Apple has “extraordinary gatekeeper power,” Microsoft said, before pointing out alleged errors in the judge's decision. The ruling raises “potential antitrust issues [that] extend well beyond gaming,” including many other areas in which Apple operates.
If the original ruling is upheld, Microsoft says it could “shield Apple from meaningful antitrust scrutiny and encourage further harmful behavior.” The company goes on to conclude that this would mean “innovation will suffer.”
Apple's response to the appeal is expected in March.
Epic gets support from a knitting app
On February 6, Seattle-based knitting startup Knitrino was among the companies that signed an amicus brief in November 2021 to support Epic. He also provided friend-of-the-court information to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in January.
Knitrino's dispute with Apple stemmed from problems getting approval from the App Store for its app, as the rules prohibited the sale of both physical and digital goods through the in-app system. Despite discussions, the appeal to the review board was rejected after 19 minutes.
There were also complaints about a lack of options and outside control over the situation. However, Knitrino eventually received approval from the app store.
According to Yates, Apple has the ability to “have such power that they can say whether we can go into business over something so arbitrary.” Even though the app is on the App Store, Yates still “would like to have an alternative.”
Apple says Epic's appeal is wrong and the decision should stand
In a brief published March 24, Apple said Epic lost the lawsuit because it failed to prove wrongdoing, not because of any legal errors by the judge.
The brief and the answer from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals generally argue that the majority of the decisions in the case should be affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It also sets out the arguments for overturning the decision on anti-steering provisions.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers made no legal errors in her decision, the brief said, refuting Epic Games' argument that errors occurred. “Epic lost because it went too far with claims that bordered on antitrust,” Apple argues.
Regarding the arguments against regulation, Apple further states that “the evidence of the measure provided by Epic is legally insufficient to support UCL's decision.” Apple also says Epic can no longer prove damages in the App Store because it is no longer an Apple developer.
Apple enlists the help of Roblox, founders of the Koch Group, in an antitrust case
As the deadline for friend-of-the-court briefings passed on March 31, it was revealed that Apple had received a number of declarations in its favor. The list supporting Apple included the ACT-App Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, Washington Legal Foundation and a group of national security experts and scholars.
More importantly, the collection includes two major additions: Roblox and Koch Group.
“Apple’s process for reviewing and approving apps available on the App Store enhances safety and security,” Roblox said in a statement, “and gives these apps greater legitimacy in the eyes of users.”
Meanwhile, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, funded by the Koch brothers, was the first to apply as part of its support for the Koch group.
Fortnite on iPhone via Xbox Cloud Gaming
Even though Fortnite remains banned from the App Store, it is once again available to play on Apple devices thanks to a partnership between Epic Games and Xbox Cloud Gaming. In May, a touch version of the game was made available on the Microsoft platform and can be played in a web browser.
This meant that the game could be played on iPhone, iPad and other devices through a browser, thereby complying with the App Store rules regarding game streaming services.
Apple and Google protest against Australia's antitrust reforms
In May, Apple told Australian authorities it had “serious concerns” about the App Store's antitrust findings. At the same time Google said the proposals could cause “unintended harm.”
The findings were released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in February following a review of app store policies. Responses from Apple and Google were filed in February but have not been published in May.
Apple says its own “serious concerns about the implementation of [proposed] regulatory reforms” include that it believes the ACCC is trying to reform problems that don't exist.
“[Several] reforms are intended to address hypothetical (rather than existing) problems associated with Apple's behavior,” Apple says in its full documentation. “[The] actual market outcomes that would result from the proposed Apple-related 'reforms', if implemented in the form proposed, would reduce the incentives for dynamic companies like Apple to innovate and develop new and differentiated products.”
“Apple is perplexed that the competition and consumer agency is prioritizing alleged competition issues that lack compelling evidence of harm over the clear and serious harm users experience every day.” , the message continued.
Epic: Apple led the court astray
In the statement filed in May, Epic said Apple misled the court and the judge was wrong in her interpretation of the market. Epic's answer to the appeal and answer to the cross-appeal say the court “committed numerous errors of law in dismissing Epic's Sherman Act claims.”
In the original lawsuit, Epic alleged that Apple blocked access to the App Store, which Epic considered an important utility. The Sherman Act dictates freedom of trade and competition in the United States. However, Epic also made a mistake by supporting Apple's restrictions.
“The Court found significant anticompetitive effects, but erroneously accepted anticompetitive justifications and ignored its own factual findings establishing less restrictive alternatives,” the opinion said.
Epic also tried to refute claims that its requirements would weaken the security of iOS, saying that Apple itself touts the security of the Mac, which does not have the same security as iOS. Outside of the testing period, Apple has said it considers the level of malware in macOS to be unacceptable.
Epic CEO: App Store is a 'disservice to developers'
In an interview in May, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that both Apple and Google would have a “stranglehold on the metaverse” if they weren't forced to change methods of their work. Meanwhile, he also says that Epic is a key player for the future of the Metaverse, but an altruistic player.
“Epic Games plans for Unreal Engine to be a huge source of revenue for our customers, not for us,” he said. “We're committed to giving everyone the real-time 3D content creation tools they need to bring their content into the metaverse, and our goal is… to offer them the best place to bring their content.”
“So our business is not about extracting money from authors, but about helping them find opportunities,” he continued, “and profiting from opportunities as they arise.” .
In contrast, he says Apple is currently “completely preventing any competition and market forces that could shape the best app stores and offers for consumers.”
“Epic believes that every company in the technology industry must compete, and indeed must compete fairly, in every market in which it does business,” Sweeney said. “Apple competes fairly in the hardware space. “Apple currently competes unfairly in stores.”
Sweeney continued by stating that the current policies of major app stores will “dominate the metaverse” as well as all physical commerce that occurs in virtual and augmented reality.
In disagreement with the way Apple talks about App Store revenue in the broader Services category, Apple “pretends that this is actually revenue that Apple has earned itself, but it is not. a robbery to gain opportunity from developers,” “shady accounting practices that should not be tolerated,” and that “the App Store is not a service. The App Store is doing developers a disservice.”
Metaverse Standards Forum Acquires Epic, Adobe, Microsoft, Meta, But Not Apple
The new Metaverse Standards Forum, designed to encourage open standards development, attracted a number of major players in the industry in June area, but not Apple.
Companies joining include Adobe, Epic Games, Microsoft, Meta (formerly Facebook), Nvidia and Qualcomm. A total of 35 companies joined the launch.
Although Apple has its own personal reasons for not joining the group, they are unlikely to be financial, since at the time membership was “open to any organization at no cost.” It is also unknown whether Apple was asked if it would like to be a founding member of the group.
Epic Support a Creator Program only pays 5% of sales to game content creators
June report on Epic's Fortnite and custom content created as the game reveals that Epic is not doing a very good job of funding these third parties.
Creative firms producing in-game experiences found that working directly with brands was much more profitable than dealing with Epic, which didn't really have a major content revenue sharing program.
The Creator Support program, the closest thing to a creator support scheme aimed at influencers, only gave participants a 5% discount and withdrawals were only possible after earning $100 in 12 years period. period of the month.
The shockingly low percentage reflects poorly on Apple's 30% App Store commission on purchases, with the rest going to developers. Meanwhile, while Meta has come under fire for plans to charge up to 47.5% on purchases, that's still a huge percentage compared to what Epic pays out.
Epic previously hinted that more monetization options would be available in the future.
App Fairness Coalition: The public wants to open the App Store
A pair of App Fairness Coalition surveys have shown that there is a need for App Store competition and antitrust enforcement.
A June CAF survey found that 79% of voters support the Open App Markets Act, which would force Apple to allow the use of third-party payment processors. 68% said big tech companies have too much power, and 79% supported legislative efforts to open up the mobile app ecosystem.
When it comes to Apple's power, 59% said Apple has too much of it, while 28% said Apple has enough of it.
However, some questions proved leading, such as one explicitly telling participants that “Apple and Google have monopoly control over what apps are allowed in their app stores and how consumers can download those apps.” .”
CAF says polling shows lawmakers have “clear, overwhelming and bipartisan support” for passing antitrust legislation.
Apple challenges ban on self-preferencing services
In July in In a cross-appeal brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Apple argued that the restraining order was “legally wrong” and that the court reached an “unprecedented result” despite Epic's failure to prove harm.
“Epic was unable to prove direct or indirect harm,” the statement said. “At the district court, Epic presented no evidence of actual damages at any point in time. UCL's decision should be overturned for this reason alone.”
Apple argued that Epic had not proven its legal claim of “standing” because Epic was no longer an iOS developer and therefore could not be harmed by the guidance applying to those who still were. Apple also said there was insufficient evidence that its anti-steering provision actually harmed market competition.
He also believes that the injunction is unfairly applied to all iOS developers. The logic is that since Epic opted out of the class action by filing its own lawsuit, Epic is the only plaintiff against whom injunctive relief may apply.
Epic's appeal against Apple will be heard on October 21.
In August, the US Court of Appeals said it would hear the Apple and Epic cases on October 21, 2022. Held in Courtroom 3 at the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco, both sides will appeal aspects of the previous decision.
Epic will argue that the overall decision was flawed because Apple “illegally” maintained a monopoly on iOS app distribution and in-app payment solutions. Meanwhile, Apple will fight the anti-steering aspects, saying Epic didn't provide enough evidence to support its decision.
Each side will have only 20 minutes per day to present their case to the court, according to the format of the appeal court itself.
USA. The Department of Justice wants to participate in the appeal process
In September, the US Department of Justice requested to participate in the appeal hearings in the Epic-Apple case. Officials ask to participate in oral arguments.
“The United States believes that its participation in oral arguments would be helpful to the court, particularly in explaining how errors (in antitrust interpretation) can significantly harm antitrust enforcement beyond the specific context of this case.” “, the Ministry of Justice wrote in a statement.
Neither side opposed the move, but Apple said it wants time for the Justice Department's arguments to run out of Epic's time or be given more time.
The Department of Justice is allowed to appear on the side of Epic Games
After a previous request to participate in oral arguments, the Department of Justice was granted time in court.
The Department of Justice will be present for 10 minutes during the appeal, and lawyers will want to explain to the court the details of the proper legal framework for assessing antitrust issues. This is expected to include repeating previous statements that an Apple win could cause antitrust damage.
This includes “multiple legal errors” in the court's interpretation of the Sherman Act on antitrust issues.
The Coalition for App Fairness and Epic Games complain about price increases in the App Store outside the US
In In September, Apple raised prices in the App Store for many non-consumers, but did not provide a direct reason. The increase is equivalent to a price increase of around 20%, making a €0.99 app cost €1.19.
After the rate hike, the Coalition for App Fairness and Epic Games' Tim Sweeney complained about the move.
The coalition's executive director, Rick VanMeter, said the changes were made “without the input or consent of app developers, highlighting the extent of Apple's market power.” He continued: “In no other industry can a business single-handedly raise the prices of another business’s products.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney offered his own comparison, portraying Apple as a commercial landlord telling tenants they should raise prices without giving them any say in the matter.
“Developers don't want to increase the prices of their apps in the EU and UK,” Sweeney said in a follow-up tweet. “Consumers do not want app prices to rise in the EU and UK. Central banks fighting inflation don't want app prices to rise.”
Epic Games pays $520 million to settle child privacy violations and dark patterns
On December 19, it was reported that Epic had agreed to pay a record $520 million to settle a pair of Federal Trade Commission charges of violating children's privacy and defrauding Fortnite players when making purchases.
$275 million of that amount is a civil penalty for COPPA violations alleging that Epic collected personal information from players under the age of 13 without notifying parents or obtaining consent. The penalty is the highest imposed by the Federal Trade Commission for compliance with COPPA.
The remaining $245 million will go toward refunds to consumers on in-game items and perk sales using so-called “dark templates.” They are characterized as attempts to trap customers by making it difficult to cancel paid services and other similar methods.
In Epic's case, it is alleged that Fortnite used inconsistent and confusing button configurations, resulting in unintended purchases. It was also claimed that cancellation and refund functions were difficult to find, and there were threats of account suspensions when customers disputed payments through credit card companies.
Fortnite will return to iPhone in 2023, Epic CEO says
In New Year's Eve tweets, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney appeared to suggest that Fortnite could return to iOS and iPadOS in 2023 year.
The first tweet, dated December 31, 2022, announced: “Next year on iOS!”, and in a subsequent reply, Sweeney shared an image taken from “Fortnite” itself.
Although Sweeney has not clarified the cryptic tweets, it appears that there is an intention to revive the game on iOS after a long time-out.
It is unknown how this could happen, but it will depend on one of several outcomes. On the more distant side of the equation is a reconciliation between Epic and Apple and the return of the game to the App Store itself.
A more likely scenario is that Epic will take advantage of European regulatory changes in the form of the Digital Markets Act, which could force Apple to allow third-party app stores to operate on iOS, among other policy changes.
“Fortnite” suffered even more damage on iOS after the January 30 update
On January 30, 2023, “Fortnite” players had to deal with new restrictions on their ability to play the game, affecting how they could spend V- bucks.
Players of version 13.40 of the game for iOS and Mac prohibited players from spending virtual currency. The game also required that gamers be over 18 years old and that everyone agree to the new terms.
This change occurred because Epic Games wanted all versions to use EPic's then-current suite of online services, which includes parental controls, default purchase settings, and parental review features.
Epic must pay $245 million for luring customers into purchasing “Fortnite.”
The Federal Trade Commission fined Epic $245 million for using so-called “dark templates” which forced players to perform unwanted actions. in-game purchases. The fine was part of a previously announced $520 million settlement ordered in December.
The FTC said Epic's use of illogical and inconsistent button layouts could make it easy for players to incorrectly press a button and make a payment. It was also claimed that Epic made it easier for children to make purchases without requiring parental consent.
Epic was also accused of blocking or threatening to block the accounts of customers who began disputing unauthorized charges with credit card companies after the purchase.
Epic fears of the CEO Directors Apple's Impact on the Metaverse
In March, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said Apple was the main “obstacle to Epic's vision for the metaverse.” During discussions at the 2023 Game Developers Conference, Epic believed that the metaverse should be open and that “it can't be another walled garden.”
“[Apple] will either try to crush the metaverse or extract all the profits from it. It’s one or the other,” Sweeney said.
“Apple doesn't let you use a competing browser engine. So they can do the same thing with the metaverse, so [they] can say, “You have to use Apple's limited metaverse engine, you can. If you don't make your own, you can't use Unreal.”
“If we just build this thing in an open environment, then companies can live off their merits,” Sweeney added. “We really like it because we have a history of winning essentially when there was an opportunity, and we're terribly disappointed in markets like iOS, where you just can't create an Epic Games Store for iOS because Apple says, 'You you can.” You are not competing with us!”
Apple triumphs in Epic Games' Fortnite Antitrust Appeal
On April 24, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court's 2021 decision, rejecting Epic's claims that the App Store's policies violated federal laws, particularly the ban. third party app marketplaces.
However, not everything went according to Apple's plan. Of the nine claims filed on appeal, a tenth were upheld by Epic. The court upheld the district court's decision under California's Unfair Competition Law, meaning Apple will still have to make previously agreed upon anti-steering changes.
“Today's decision confirms Apple's resounding victory in this case, with nine out of ten cases resolved in Apple's favor,” Apple said in a statement. “For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple complies with state and federal antitrust laws.”
“The App Store continues to promote competition, drive innovation, and expand opportunity, and we are proud of its tremendous contribution to both users and developers around the world. We respectfully dissent from the court's decision in yet another lawsuit in accordance with state law, and we are considering further review.”
The ruling said Apple is making clear that by improving security and privacy, “it is capitalizing on consumer demand and differentiating its products from those of competitors, goals that are clearly intended to promote competition.”
Along with consumer surveys showing that security is important, the ruling quotes Tim Sweeney noting that “even Epic's CEO testified that he bought an iPhone over an Android smartphone in part because it provides 'better security' and confidentiality.”
Despite Apple's restrictions, users still have the freedom to choose whether to use iOS and its security or go elsewhere, such as Android. “Apple’s restrictions create a heterogeneous market for app transaction platforms, resulting in increased competition between brands—a primary goal of antitrust law.”
The court also found that Epic's claims that it could conform to Apple's model of notarized apps without human review did not prove that it would be “substantially as effective” in practice. The court found Apple's explanation of why human review was necessary to be “persuasive” and that Epic “failed to explain how, if at all” a purely automated process could screen for such threats.
With respect to in-app payments, the court determined that the restrictions “have a pro-competitive effect that offsets their anticompetitive effect.”
Apple & Both Epic Games have appealed the App Store's Fortnite antitrust ruling.
In June, Apple and Epic filed a joint appeals court review request that could force Apple to change its App Store payment practices. , but for completely different reasons.
Following an April ruling that found Apple violated California's state unfair competition law but did not violate U.S. antitrust rules, Apple challenged the national injunction, saying it was “pro-competitive” and did not violate antitrust laws. .
Epic, meanwhile, argues that its charges against Apple directly relate to the core purpose of US antitrust law, which is to promote competition. In addition, Epic accused the appeals court of failing to carefully examine and weigh the consumer benefits Apple claimed against the anticompetitive consequences of its actions.
Apple files Supreme Court petition to cancel the decision ' Fortnite Lawsuit
On July 3, 2023, Apple filed a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court asking to overturn the Court of Appeals decision, which affects App Store policies.
Apple's legal team has filed a motion to review an April decision by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue. While the court upheld much of the previous decision in the case in April, it later rejected attempts by Epic and Apple to reconsider that decision.
Apple's motion argues that the appeals court went too far by issuing a nationwide injunction against Apple over alleged violations of California's unfair competition law. The petition says it raises “far-reaching and important” questions about judges' authority to issue sweeping injunctions.
Apple App Store Anti-Regulatory Rules Suspended Pending Supreme Court Appeal
On July 17, Apple received a motion to stay a decision that could force changes to the App Store's anti-steering rules while it works on an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Under the proposal, Apple would have another 90 days before it would have to make rule changes.
Judge scolds Apple lawyers for appeal arguments
Apple's lawyers were rebuked by a US judge who ordered a 90-day delay in enforcing the rules.
Judge Milan Smith wrote in the ruling that the delay was allowed because of “our general practice of granting a motion for a stay unless the arguments presented therein are not frivolous.”
“I write separately to express my view that while the arguments in Apple's motion may not be technically frivolous,” Judge Smith wrote, “they ignore key aspects of the panel's reasoning and key factual findings.” findings of the district court.”
“Based on our arguments and the district court’s findings,” the ruling said, “Apple’s arguments do not stand up to even the slightest scrutiny.”
“Apple's arguments regarding standing and the scope of the injunction merely disguise its disagreement with the district court's findings and challenge to state liability as allegations of error of law,” Judge Smith said.
Epic asks the US Supreme Court to enforce a lower court ruling
On July 27, Epic asked the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court decision that was affected by Apple's 90-day stay.
It has been estimated that as a result of this petition, Apple may technically delay any major changes to the App Store. By default, the company now has 90 days before it needs to make any changes, and that could become even longer if SCOTUS decides to take up the case.
The Supreme Court supported Apple in the issue of payments in the App Store — at the moment
August 9, 2023 The US Supreme Court responded to the request Epic to force Apple to make changes to its anti-steering policy before the end of the appeal process. The court rejected the motion.
Judge Elena Kagan did not give any reasons for rejecting the motion.
Epic serves “Fortnite” vs. Apple to the Supreme Court
On September 27, 2023, Epic took its last possible chance to win the Epic vs. Apple battle by taking the case to the Supreme Court.In the lawsuit, Epic demanded a review of the entire antitrust case and its decisions
Apple wants the Supreme Court to overturn Epic's only antitrust victory in Fortnite
A day after Epic filed its own petition to the Supreme Court to review the case, on September 28 December 2023 Apple did the same. More precisely, he asked to reconsider the section that he failed to win.
While Epic is seeking a Supreme Court review of nearly all of its cases, Apple wants to review a failed case over anti-regulatory practices that prevent developers from telling users about alternative purchasing options.
The Supreme Court must now determine whether to hear any petition or not, with a decision expected before the end of 2023.