Epic vs. Apple ruling says Apple must allow users to be redirected to other payment systems

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The ruling for the Epic vs. Apple trial has finally come in, just three months past its end. On the matter of Apple's "anti-steering" policies (meaning app developers are not allowed to steer customers to outside payment services), Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ruled these anticompetitive, and has thus issued a permanent injunction forbidding Apple from preventing links to third-party payment systems. The injunction is set to go into effect in 90 days, at which point app developers will be allowed to implement these changes. The ruling reads:

Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.
The ruling was not entirely in Epic's favour, however. Judge Rogers also sided with Apple on their claim that Epic breached their contract by adding a direct payment system to Fortnite on iOS. She has ruled that Epic must pay Apple damages equal to "30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue Epic Games collected from users in the Fortnite app on iOS through Epic Direct Payment between August and October 2020," plus "30% of any such revenue Epic Games collected from November 1, 2020 through the date of judgment, and interest according to law." She also felt that Epic did not establish that Apple is a monopoly, dashing Epic's hopes of opening up Apple's walled garden App Store.

Given the trial record, the Court cannot ultimately conclude that Apple is a monopolist under either federal or state antitrust laws. While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct. Success is not illegal. The final trial record did not include evidence of other critical factors, such as barriers to entry and conduct decreasing output or decreasing innovation in the relevant market. The Court does not find that it is impossible; only that Epic Games failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist.
Since Apple was ruled to be justified in terminating Epic's developer account, they are not beholden to reestablish them or put Fortnite back on the App Store. While it's unknown right now what will happen, it is worth pointing out that just yesterday, South Korea instituted a new law that would require platform holders to allow redirection to outside payment services--exactly what got Fortnite kicked off the App Store, and exactly what this ruling has decided Apple must do in the United States. Epic took the opportunity to request their developer account be reinstated in South Korea and, in a move Epic CEO Tim Sweeney called "petty and ridiculous," Apple denied them.

This is also likely not the last we'll hear of this case. There is still a lengthy appeals process that both companies will likely pursue, but for now, this looks like it could have a major impact on the way Apple handles its App Store for the foreseeable future.
 

Chrisssj2

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Sounds like a perfectly reasonable ruling. Apple cannot enforce how the interaction between a customer and a developer takes place and what kind of exchanges are permitted - they fulfilled their objective as soon as the app was installed and the store took payment (if the app wasn’t free, that is). From that point onwards what happens on the app is none of their concern. That being said, they are also entitled to executing the conditions of their service agreement, which is what they did. Big step in the right direction that will protect other companies in the future.
You think a market share of over 50% is not a problem...
 

Foxi4

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You think a market share of over 50% is not a problem...
Apple has a market share of 100% on the App Store because it’s their store - that’s not a problem, no. It becomes a problem when Apple starts expecting third-parties to follow their ToS on external platforms. As a side note, I’m not even against monopolies in the first place - a monopoly is only bad if it is detrimental to the customer. Most long-term monopolies are actually a result of state legislation making them into one, you can see that in the ISP market in the U.S. where giants are propped up by the state and small players cannot compete due to restrictive regulation. That’s not the problem here - Apple can run their store however they want, they just don’t get to run Epic’s store, which is the end result of the suit. In terms of mobile phone market share, Apple shouldn’t be punished for making a good product, regardless of how successful it is. High market share is not indicative of monopolistic practices.
 

Dr_Faustus

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This whole fucking case was all about 'Eww they make more money than our multi-billion dollar company. Let's sue them and wrap it up as a pro consumer movement. That'll anger the fans and riot with us!'
While Epic has done some scummy things themselves like aggressively hoarding 'exclusives' for their game launcher.
Like bloody hell this is for sure a hypocritical case if I ever saw one. Just pure bullshit all around in my opinion.


You know I always find the argument about their paid/timed exclusives to be completely one sided. Not trying to say that exclusives are good in any way (they very much are not) but the fact that people attack Epic over it as if no other system designed for exclusivity exists. I mean hell, you do not see Half-Life Alyx on PSVR, you do not see God Of War on Xbox, and you will certainly never see a Nintendo Property of any kind on any other serious gaming hardware outside Nintendo's own. The idea of exclusivity is to benefit the platform they are presented on, to sell the platform along with the game. Let's not act like Epic is the only one that had paid for exclusive games before because plenty of others have done so before or at least made deals to fund/publish the game if its only through their platform. Its something that is and always has been a problem with the industry as a whole, and is not limited to just hardware these days.

I am not trying to defend Epic at all here, but if you think that everything they have should be on Steam, its like saying that all of Playstation games should be on Xbox. Its not exactly fair for the sake of competition and in a perfect world everything would be available for every platform. This is not the reality we live in however and platforms exist for the sake of creating walled gardens growing fandoms for profit. The only difference here is that these platforms are all digital and for PC, if Steam was the only platform to exist on PC that would make it a monopoly which is not great either. If anything multiple platforms make the competition between them benefit the consumers more in the long run, which is a good thing if done properly.

Plus, I still honestly and truly believe that if it was not for the Epic Play Store actually putting Valve in a state of competition, they would not had the motivation and fire lit under their arse to start actually making games again. For the longest time Valve has done very little with their own games and instead just living on the income provided from Steam and the marketplace. Now with actual competition in the form of multiple digital stores, they actually have to remind people they used to actually make damn good compelling games again and release it on their platform. Call it a theory or a coincidence if you will, but Valve did not actually start making a move towards games again until after Epic provided enough of a competition to get people looking and walking the other way. That result is a great thing for us.
 
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Xmortal

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Lego building blocks aren't a game either.

I'd say that games have winners and losers.

A game is an activity or sport usually involving skill, knowledge, or chance, in which you follow fixed rules and try to win against an opponent or to solve a puzzle.

The building blocks are games, you are contradicting yourself with the game descriptions. The building blocks go in the Puzzle caterogy
 

smf

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The building blocks are games, you are contradicting yourself with the game descriptions. The building blocks go in the Puzzle caterogy

I'm not contradicting myself, lego blocks don't have a solution. They are not a puzzle.

I'll let you off as english isn't your first language.
 
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