back to article Apple, Epic trade barbs in App Store brouhaha while judge pins July for jury time

Lawyers representing Apple and Epic Games appeared in court yesterday via video link as the row over Cupertino's App Store policies rumbles on. As reported by The New York Times, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for the Northern District of California heard lawyers' complaints ahead of an expected ruling in a few days on whether …

  1. VicMortimer

    Google and Apple are NOT similar here.

    Apple blocks app installs from anywhere but the Apple app store. Google does not.

    Apple has a monopoly. Google doesn't.

    As far as I'm concerned, either one of them can charge 30% or 90%, doesn't matter as long as people aren't locked into only getting apps from an app store.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      You can jailbreak your iPhone and use alternate app stores.

      1. DavCrav

        "You can jailbreak your iPhone and use alternate app stores."

        I was under the impression that Apple repeatedly attempt to close jailbreaking opportunities.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Yes, since they don't officially support it it relies on exploits. Apple fixes exploits because of the security implications, closing the jailbreak is a side effect, but there's always going to be another exploit found. I think it would make sense for them to have some officially supported way to jailbreak an iPhone, if it was possible to be done in a way that's obvious to the user. You don't want to have people jailbreaking their spouse's phone and putting bugging software on it. I'm sure that happens now but at least Apple can say they're doing their best to prevent it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Depends on the vendor of your Android device. Either way, turning on the option to enable side loading throws up a lot of “scary” security warnings. That will keep most people away from other app stores. So no, the difference isn’t that big.

      1. msknight

        I've never experienced that. I've had one general warning when I've turned the option to allow side loading, and that's been it. Things might have changed in recent years, but I've never felt like I've been scared into not using side load.

    3. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Apple has no monopoly. You can buy an Android phone. Many people do. And Epic is free to sell items through their website.

      Maybe Apple should decide that they could sell the same virtual tat that Epic sells to get money out of the pockets of stupid kids, instead of charging Epic 30%. Obviously Epic would give them access to all the required APIs, give Apple purchases equal status in Fortnite, and send 100% of the purchase price to Apple. Then we have competition, so Apple can put its prices for these in-app purchases a bit lower, then Epic does the same, then Apple repeats etc. and all the customers are really happy. And soon Epic won't get 70% of 600 million a year, but about 50% of 100 million.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Apple has no monopoly. You can buy an Android phone.

        A monopoly doesn't mean there is no competition. It generally means you control the market. So whether you can buy an Android device or not doesn't make Apple a monopoly or not, in the smartphone market. If they had a majority share of the market, they would be a monopoly.

        But for apps for the iPhone, Apple has a monopoly with the App Store.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          But you don't get to define the market that way. Does Tesla have a "monopoly" on "apps" for its car? I mean the thing has a big touchscreen that's basically a tablet, that has a bunch of Tesla created functionality. If Apple has to open up will Tesla be forced to do the same? Will Samsung have to do that for their "smart fridges"?

          Before long, everything will be a computer, and everything will be capable of running apps. Do we really want a world where it is all wide open to anyone who wants to set up their own app store for every product?

          The reason people want access to Apple's platform is because Apple has built a successful platform with over a billion iPhones sold. No one is jonesing for access to Samsung's fridge, because they've probably only sold a few hundred thousand of those fridges with the built in web browser. If they sell 100 million of them, there will probably be people calling for an end to their monopoly control of the apps on their fridge.

          1. msknight

            I don't believe it's the same. The mobile phone is far more a part of our everyday lives than our car or our fridge. It's our window on the world, and that's where a monopolistic control over what appears on that device, is far more serious, in my opinion. So Apple's tight control of the iWorld has far more influence over the individual's life than the other examples.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              If Apple was exerting "monopolistic control over what you see on your device" they'd have Safari censoring websites. You can visit any site in the world that's reachable via your network connection, so you can't argue Apple is censoring what you see.

              Having rules for their app store and taking a cut of some payments is not the same thing as "controlling what you see on your device". Do you demand an alternative comment system on The Register because they have rules for their forums and require personal information in the form of an email address?

              1. msknight

                Way to misquote, and then go off on a tangent rant. Truly epic misfire even by El Reg forum standards.

  2. Mark Exclamation

    I really can't see the argument here. Apple developed their app store from scratch with their money, and linked it to their inventions, the iPhone & iPad developed with their own money, and continue to run the app store using their money to support software and hardware. Yes, they now make a lot of money out of it, but that was the intention of it in the first place. It's their app store, and they set the terms and conditions of people/companies who use it. If you don't agree with the T&Cs, don't use it, no-one is forcing you to use it.

    Epic, and everyone else, is free to setup their own, competing, app store, and create their own devices to access these apps. Epic is just looking for a shortcut to an extra few $100s of $millions. I hope they lose this case.

    1. Tom 38

      In the 70s/80s (I think), General Motors did not have a monopoly on the automobile industry, however if you wanted a replacement part for your care, it had to be an OEM part.

      Despite not controlling the automobile market, their control of the parts market for purchasers of their cars was declared a monopoly, and aftermarket parts were then legally available.

      This will probably be the crux of Epic's argument - just because you created a thing, doesn't mean you can control what people do with that thing. I can't see either argument holding up entirely, but no-one has really pushed Apple on additional app stores - presumably Epic wouldn't mind running their own app store and having access to android and iphone users without paying a cut to either Apple or Google.

  3. RM Myers

    Apple and Google Business Models

    Apple wants to keep you in a walled garden, and take a slice of everything you buy, but they market themselves as respecting your privacy. Google has a much more open ecosystem, but they hoover up all your data and seller it to marketers. So which business will ultimately be the most successful?

    Obviously, it is Amazon that has the best* strategy - they hoover up all your data and still keep you in a walled garden!

    *Best for Amazon - you didn't really think any of them cared about the consumer.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Apple and Google Business Models

      OK, we get it - Somebody makes you use an iPhone 11 and you are not happy about it. Can I suggest a refurbished Nokia 8210? You can get them on Amazon for a couple of hundred dollars...

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