Epic Games faces Apple in final day of antitrust courtroom battle

Lawyers for Apple and Fortnite-maker Epic Games on Monday began making their final arguments to a judge deciding whether the Cupertino Colossus is abusing a monopoly that hurts third-party software developers.

Epic Games' Fortnite violated Apple's App Store guidelines
Epic Games’ Fortnite violated Apple’s App Store guidelines

Tim Higins for Dow Jones Newswires:

They began debating a familiar topic: how to define the market at the center of the case. Epic would like U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to consider the distribution of apps on iPhones as the market while Apple (AAPL) emphasized that there are many competing devices.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers will rule on Epic’s claim that Apple has improperly prohibited third-party app stores on the iPhone and required app developers to use its in-app payment system that takes a commission of as much as 30%.

Apple has denied it is a monopoly, pointing to other ways Epic’s game “Fortnite” can be distributed. The company has said its rules around the app store ensure the safety and reliability of apps for users. Apple has argued its fees are similar to others and that Epic is merely trying to get out of paying its fair share.

Instead of traditional closing arguments held before a jury, the judge had asked the two sides to prepare for a debate-style end to the trial that has lasted more than three weeks in Oakland, Calif.

On Monday, Apple defended its 30% commission. “That commission rate wasn’t created by Steve Jobs,” Dan Swanson, an Apple lawyer, said of the company’s late co-founder. The price came from what was found on a digital videogame distribution platform called Steam and was cheaper than what was found in physical stores at the time, Mr. Swanson said.

MacDailyNews Take: The judge has said it would take her several weeks to render a verdict which is almost as big a joke as this trial itself.

4 Comments

  1. Has anyone talked about the monopoly that epic has on the Fortnite platform? If I were Apple. I would have suggested that epic open up Fortnite so other software companies could sell skins. Naturally epic should not be allowed to charge a commission for letting other competitors sell in game weapons and skins. I might want to create some really high powered weapons and characters that don’t take damage. What? That would break the game?

    1. Epic owns the Fortnight App. Other Apps are also allowed. Epic cannot tell you where to get Apps for your iOS device Apple does.

      Now if you want to make the gaming console argument, Sony allows other stores to sell their games for their platform. So does MS and everyone else.

      But I’ll give you this, if they block a game they don’t own, I would condemn them too.

      1. All App stores block some apps they don’t own, for varying reasons. You can easily look that up.

        Regardless, you said it perfectly. Sony, MS, Google run their stores as they choose, some very open, some open-ish. Windows is the Wild West. So go get and enjoy those platforms and apps since you prefer your eco open. That’s best for you. See how easy that is?

        Otoh, Apple’s App Store and policy has always, 100%, with few exception, been walled, as has nearly their entire offering. They don’t let others make iphones, iPads, macs, watches etc etc. This is how Apple provides a more secure, a more seamless experience and Apple device/sw inter operation. They are rabidly protective about what makes its way into iOS. But it’s at a premium initial price and i give up some sw freedom for these benefits. I understand this and it is happily my choice for platform (for ultimately down the line great value IME).

        The very idea you’d argue the others are open so thereby suggest Apple must be open too is foolish and petty. Arguing if they did it like Apple I’d call them on it. Wow. You know what eco Apple sells and obviously you don’t like that. That’s your choice. But it gets real unfortunate that you’ll try to force Apple to be like the others simply because you don’t like Apple(certainly nothing to do with what’s fair).
        No thank you Cynic, you enjoy it over there, I’ll enjoy it here. You can Butt out on how we over here should do it.

        FYI, The Epic case was a dog and pony show, fodder for media, but nothing whatsoever to do with fair.

        1. Apple has no right to impose a single point of sale of goods they don’t own in devices they don’t own.

          I could, and would, argue that gaming consoles can’t either, at least on the software level. On the hardware level such as proprietary cartridges and disks, they can protect that copying by enforcing their hardware, not software patents. But iOS devices aren’t “gaming appliances” either.

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