We’ve been here before. Fortnite maker Epic Games’ manufactured showdown with Apple with over App Store participation fees has landed with a judge who gave Apple a big victory seven years ago in a case raising similar antitrust issues.
Epic last week escalated a dispute over Apple’s longstanding App Store rules that subscription fees and in-app-purchases be billed through Apple, which charges a fee for participation in Apple’s App Store. In a clear and seemingly premeditated violation of the rules, Epic began offering game players a way to directly buy items for Fortnite, circumventing the App Store fees. Hours later, Apple pulled the app. Google followed suit later in the day, removing Fortnite from its Play store. Epic then sued both companies and began PR campaign against Apple that clearly seemed to have been prepared in advance in Epic’s manufactured dispute.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, took over the Epic case Wednesday from another judge. Back in 2013, she dismissed a lawsuit claiming Apple’s apps monopoly cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges. Plaintiffs requested a new judge after the U.S. Supreme Court revived the case in 2019, saying Rogers was too hostile to their legal position, but an appeals court denied their request.
In the 2013 case, consumers also attacked Apple’s 30% app store fee, arguing they would pay less if it weren’t for the “fixed” cost. Rogers reasoned that the cost is passed on to consumers by developers, rather than charged directly by Apple. Consumers don’t have a right to sue for antitrust violations over such passed-on charges, she ruled.
It’s not uncommon in federal courts for cases addressing related issues to be assigned to the same judge.
In 2014, Rogers ruled that iPod users failed to prove that Apple violated federal antitrust laws after a jury rejected their claims that software updates for the device were meant to block competitors.
MacDailyNews Take: Epic Games wants all of the benefits afforded to it by Apple’s App Store for free.
Over the weekend, a hot dog vendor was kicked out of the local mall. The hot dog guy just rolled his cart in there, plugged in his neon sign, and started selling hot dogs without even telling, much less contracting with, the mall.
After getting booted, he went down the road and tried to do it at the next mall, too. They kicked him out, too. Now, he’s suing both malls for “antitrust violations.”
Plus, he’s also filing suit to force the first mall to let him roll in to sell his hot dogs whenever he wants, regardless of the mall’s retail lease terms.
Gee, wonder if he’ll win his lawsuits? — MacDailyNews, August 17, 2020