back to article Apple suffers setback in epic Epic Games games fight: Federal judge zaps damages counterclaim

Epic Games scored a victory in its ongoing acrimonious legal battle with Apple this week after a federal judge dismissed several of Cupertino’s counterclaims. Apple had sought damages and penalties to account for revenues lost during the period when Epic circumvented the App Store payment system, which takes a 30 per cent cut …

  1. Snake Silver badge

    That's gall

    For Apple to claim losses from a company not paying it commission on transactions that it doesn't even have a part in (due to direct purchasing)...is the epitome of galling entitlement. It's Ford suing NGK for commission on every spark plug sold that happens to fit one of their cars.

    A true WTF moment, the judge was far too polite.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: That's gall

      Not quite.

      More like charging NGK commission if fitted by the Ford dealership.

      The real issue is the fact you HAVE to use the Ford dealership to fit the NGK sparkplug.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: That's gall

      I hope the lawyers on both sides of this case are taken care of. We all know how hard it is for them to earn a crust on these open and shut cases.

      (ahem)

  2. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

    What is the end game here?

    I mean seriously, by all means Apple can offer a payment system, but if the customer already has an account elsewhere and has paid, that dfhould be valid.

    1. Ian 55

      You're not thinking the Apple way, and clearly do not deserve to be near any of its devices...

      1. Richard Jones 1

        I do not have an account with either, but state a good reason not to be suckered in by the Apple 'system'.

  3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Holmes

    Interesting to note..

    The Apple lawyers saying Epic wants to be treated different to everyone else on the appstore.

    I don't recall them making such an assertion, it's more a case of if they can do others would as well. They just don't have the legal clout of Epic nor want to do exactly as they're told.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Everything within Apple, nothing outside Apple, nothing against Apple

    And now bow down.

    Welcome to Apple's world.

  5. Kevin Johnston

    How best to describe it?

    In a lot of retail settings they use 'loss leaders' as a way of getting people in and expect to make their money back through other purchases. Here we have Apple making a profit when someone enters town (when the user purchases their phone/iPad), making a profit when they buy from a shop (purchasing an app) and making more profit when the person wants to play with the item they bought (in-app 'non-physical' purchases)

    It's a great dictatorship if you can swing it.

  6. Jim Willsher

    Despite not being a game player, and owning several I devices, I am firmly in support of Epic here. 30% is greedy, I am sure if that were cut to 15% Epic would be satisfied.

    I can subscribe to Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify, Office365 etc outside of the App store, yet download apps from the App store for free, and Apply is happy with this. So the precedent is already set, for Apple to be happy for apps to reside in the store and have those apps serve content an functionality which are paid for outside of the App store.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If memory serves

      When it comes to payments we boot all customers off the app and onto a website. Not sure what Apples take on this but they seem to let us get away with it.

      Anon because I'm not saying who we are.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: If memory serves

        Apple's rules say that's just fine so long as the app itself isn't pointing/re-directing people to the website when they click a payment link.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Agreeing with Jim here...

      Like Jim I am an Apple device user and although I do not use Epic's products, I use other products that also allow me to purchase things through their accounts systems without being forced to use Apple's in-app purchasing.

      Sounds to me like Apple is now playing the butt-hurt card because Epic offers its users a 30% uplift on in-game currency purchases if purchased through Epic. It's no different to other organisations I know offering similar things (like subscriptions at a discount) for those who order/pay for their digital goods at the vendor's website rather through the Apple in-App-Store subscription system.

      As far as I am concerned, Apple can take a running jump. I actively try *not* to use Apple's App Store payment service to avoid being tied into the ecosystem too much.

    3. reGOTCHA

      "...and Apple is happy with this." - they are not

      The legal case is not about 30 or 10 percent. It's about not being able to sell in-app without apple taking a cut.

      Your second paragraph is more to the point and is related to the intentions of Apple that gave origin to this case.

      While you can subscribe in-app to Spotify without Apple taking a cut, Apple recently pushed new terms and conditions that forbid exactly that, In-app purchases can ONLY be done using Apple in-app purchase system and Apple taking a cut.

      At almost the same time this case started, Google made movements in the same direction in their Google Play store... "Apple is about to get shot for this, let me put myself in the line of fire too..."

  7. casperghst42

    Fight for Survival

    What many don‘t remember is that the AppStore made Apple a wealthy company. The iPod made them richt, the AppStore and iPhone/iPad made them filthy rich.

    If they loose part of the income from the AppStore then suddenly they will no longer make billions every quarter, and that is for them not acceptable.

    I done feel sorry for Epic Games, but for the humble developer, who maybe sell a few thousand apps on the app store for less than 5$ a pop, having the Apple tax being lowered will make a serious change.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "simply wants to pay nothing"

    Um, there is quite a difference between nothing and a 30% commission.

    If Apple were anything but a multi-billion dollar behemoth, that commission should be of proper size, i.e. 10%. And that would already be a lot for a service that sells the same virtual bytes repeatedly, without having had any work to do to create them.

    Also, Apple has some cheek talking about breach of contract. There are no contracts on the Internet, there are only Terms of Service. Terms of Service can be unilaterally changed, contracts cannot.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: "simply wants to pay nothing"

      10% is already too much, it should be about the same amount than the one card processing firms and banks charge for paying using a card...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "simply wants to pay nothing"

        Not only that, apps should have a life time maximum in-app charge too.

        If your app is "worth" $20, which to be fair mostmobile games aren't, then charge that, no need to charge $99 multiple times because you have no actual depth to the game and milk the players.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: "simply wants to pay nothing"

        Credit card firms don't host apps, or review them, or provide bandwidth for downloading/updating them etc. Comparing it to the commission credit card firms take is ridiculous.

        Back in the brick and mortar days developers were damn lucky to get 30%, let alone the 70% they get today. Retailers and distributors took a far larger cut than Apple does. that's one of the reasons developers loved the app store they got to keep a much larger chunk of revenue. Now after Apple has invested billions building up the app store into what it is today, they want a free ride. They want to offer apps for free (so Apple gets nothing off the sale) and make their money via in-app purchases (which they think they should get 100% of) Where's Apple's incentive to support that?

        You don't want to pay 30% to Apple, don't develop for iOS. No one is forcing developers to develop for them.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: "simply wants to pay nothing"

          "Credit card firms don't host apps, or review them, or provide bandwidth for downloading/updating them etc. Comparing it to the commission credit card firms take is ridiculous."

          Epic and others needs none of this they already do it on other OS and they would do it on the IPhone if Apple did not block it.

          "You don't want to pay 30% to Apple, don't develop for iOS. No one is forcing developers to develop for them."

          Don't be so naïve. Some companies have no choice but to develop for IOS as it is one of the two major phone OS. If you don’t support both Android, IOS, the two non-phone OS Windows and MacOS then customers could or would go to someone that does.

          Take Spotify they have a paid for streaming service. If you have a Windows PC and an IPhone why would you subscribe to that service if it is not available on the IPhone. You would subscribe to one that is available on both Windows and IPhone. Who does that? Oh it seems Apple does.

          When you develop games like Fortnite and Blizzard’s Hearthstone you need to cover all major platforms so players can play against friends on different platforms and the player can move between home device and mobile device.

          I expect other companies like Blizzard are watching this battle with interest.

  9. DrG

    While I understand the hate for Apple, both companies here are giant greedy corporations.

    That being said, if apps can take transactions from Apple's users outside of Apple's reach, that will be the end of free apps in the marketplace. It's how the model makes sense. Apple gets there's eventually.

    If I can take transactions away from Apple, I definitely make my app free initially, and take direct transactions...

    I think the Netflix case is interesting. If Apple wins here, could they consider going after someone like Netflix for a share of memberships, or forcing a price for the iOS Netflix app?

    I know my comment is not overwhelmingly in favor of one side and that breaks the internet, but I just find the situation to be very interesting and both parties to have a case. (...and both be very transparently greedy corporations, which is a pleonasm if I ever said one).

    Cheers!

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