Fallout of Epic Games versus Apple ruling
A few days ago, a California judge — Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers — ruled on the very important Epic (company behind Fortnite) versus Apple lawsuit. And the outcome is very important to the way we look at big tech, besides how one of the world’s most valuable approaches its App Store. The judge concluded that Apple is not unfairly monopolising the mobile app space with iOS or its in-app purchasing system. At the same time, Apple has been ordered to remove policies banning developers from telling users about alternatives to Apple’s in-app purchase system. What does it all mean? Who has won?
A relief for Apple
One of the most high-profile cases in recent years — one in which Tim Cook had to appear before the judge — Epic Games had challenged the up-to-30 per cent cut Apple takes from purchases while arguing that App Store was monopolistic.
The judge disagreed and said: “While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55 per cent and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct. The Court does not find that it is impossible; only that Epic Games failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist.” It basically points to the fact that App Store’s structure is legal.
Epic had a win (sort of)
Though Epic has lost the case on almost every ground, but one aspect of the ruling favoured the gaming giant. Rogers has issued a permanent injunction, stating that Apple cannot prohibit developers linking to their own purchasing mechanisms.
Epic Games has already filed an appeal to reexamine the case but Apple doesn’t seem to be in a hurry as nine of Epic’s 10 claims were dismissed. Further, Epic has been ordered to pay damages for breaching its developer contract.
Bigger implications? In the long run, game developers may end up producing a more a profitable mobile game on iOS… the process may become easier.
More interesting will be user experience. Directing customers to pay elsewhere may mar user experience if they have to open up a separate browser and punch in their credit card information. Or maybe we will see an extra payment button in the future. We still don’t know how the judgment will be implemented.