back to article Apple seeks to junk claim that iOS is an 'essential facility' in legal spat with Epic Games

Apple is seeking to dismiss one of the fundamental claims in its long-running legal spat with Epic Games. On Tuesday night, over two weeks after its bench trial commenced, the company filed a motion [PDF] to dismiss one claim that it violated the Sherman antitrust law, arguing Epic has failed to demonstrate iOS met the …

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    It is

    An "essential facility" as they make it as fucking difficult as possible to install something outside of the Apple Store. Last time I had to use an idevice (ipod touch) only option was to jailbreak the device to be able to put whatever you wanted on it. Which Steve knob head Jobs was trying to make illegal but lucky a judge saw sense and told him to jog on.

    1. Ace2 Silver badge

      Re: It is

      It isn’t. Buy a different device! There are dozens to choose from.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: It is

        Comparable platforms, not devices. There are basically two. IOS and Android. The market share of IOS is sufficient to make it an oligopoly situation by any definition and a monopoly under the terms of some competition laws. On that basis, it is large enough to have restrictions on how it can profit from its power.

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: It is

        "Ace2

        Reply Icon

        Re: It is

        It isn’t. Buy a different device! There are dozens to choose from."

        Microsoft could of said that in USA vs Microsoft in the anti-trust case but it would of been thrown out as it should be now too. Its not an a valid argument.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is

      not easy, to say the least, to install Android programs from anywhere except the Play Store. And how many regular users know they can install from other sources let alone know how to do it?

      Effectively a "walled garden"

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: It is

        very easy to sideload on android

        Not sure if its still the case (trying not to use amazon) but they used to try and get you to install their android app (non store so sideload & so gave detailed instructions)

        Just went to epics fortnite site on android, again it has sideload option & warns you of security permission settings (did not install it as I'm not remotely interested but I'm sure they make it easy)

      2. Dinanziame Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: It is

        Not easy? It takes 30 seconds at the most. It's one option in the settings, and the system directs you when you try to install an APK file.

      3. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: It is

        not easy, to say the least, to install Android programs from anywhere except the Play Store

        Not easy? You can go to f-droid.org, click the download button, and follow the instructions.

        After that, you can install hundreds of apps from its repository.

      4. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: It is

        "Effectively a "walled garden"" Even if that was the case why should it have any bearing on this case? If what Apple are doing with the app store is monopolistic it does not make it any less monopolistic if Google are doing it also.

        It just means both are being monopolistic and Epic can file cases against both, oh they are.

      5. RyokuMas
        Childcatcher

        Re: It is

        "not easy, to say the least, to install Android programs from anywhere except the Play Store"

        As has been stated in numerous places, it is pretty easy to sideload on Android.

        However, obtaining those APKs and knowing that they are not cracked and piggy-backing some kind of malware? There's your problem...

        That said given the state of the Play store, if I have to own an Android phone, I think I'd prefer to download and side-load APKs from the websites of their developers than take a chance of getting something from Play that turns out to be something else masquerading as what I'm after.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: It is

          "However, obtaining those APKs and knowing that they are not cracked and piggy-backing some kind of malware? There's your problem..."

          Google don't seem to be all that great at curating their app stores.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: It is

            100% this. I've been gobsmacked by what rubbish is in there and how little proper curating Google do.

      6. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: It is

        Not difficult at all. Find the apk, click it. Android gives you a warning, you agree you understand, installed. Simple.

  2. hedge

    Pull the other one!

    Is Apple really trying to claim that iOS is not essential in an iphone?

    What can we install instead?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Pull the other one!

      No. They are saying iFads+ecosystem in general are not essential. They are correct. I've certainly never owned one, and life seems to be trundling along just fine for me. I've also never owned a Fandroid device. Frankly, I've never seen a RealWorld business use case that would justify the purchase of such haberdashery.

      1. hedge

        Re: Pull the other one!

        Thanks for your explanation, jake, but I am still confused.

        Apple is claiming "iOS" is not a physical "essential facility or utility". While Epic seems to be claiming "iOS" is an "essential utility" which is also "part of the essential physical infrastructure".

        This is confusing.

        P.S. I did not downvote you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pull the other one!

          Perhaps the reasoning is that smartphones, and therefore smartphone operating systems, are essential to being able to function in modern society.

  3. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No comment, just the D'oh icon, it sums up my state of mind perfectly at this moment.

  4. Falmari Silver badge

    Essential facility

    “The term "essential facility" typically refers to physical infrastructure – such as roads, bridges, or power conduits. These are things that cannot typically be replicated easily, and are necessary for the delivery of something.” Sound like Apple’s app store, which can’t be replicated for the delivery of apps on IOS.

    “Although the App Store represents a bottleneck to software distribution on the iPhone,” It is not a bottleneck it is a roadblock as it is the only way to distribute software on the IPhone.

    “Apple's legal team argued that this doesn't necessarily meet the standard of an essential facility.” I tend to agree that the app store does not meet the standard in itself, but the ability to deliver mobile apps could be. There are really only two OSs out there and it is becoming more and more necessary to have one of them. For example, covid tracking app, hell I could only get into a certain gig before lockdown with a phone as tickets were only sent digitally so had to display from phone. A mobile device is becoming more and more necessary for daily life. Essential maybe not and if not they will be.

    “What Epic is demanding is that it be permitted to use the bridge at any time of day at no cost and with no limitations on its terms of access.” I thought Epic is demanding the ability to distribute software and bill on IOS. It is Apple that demand Epic must use Apple’s bridge (App store) to do this. Epic are not allowed to build their own bridge.

    As for the Sherman Antitrust law and physical infrastructure did not Microsoft lose a case under the Sherman Antitrust Act, MS software is hardly physical infrastructure.

  5. big_D Silver badge

    Essential...

    Without the Apple App Store, iOS itself is pretty useless...

  6. RyokuMas
    FAIL

    Show us the numbers...

    Simple way for Apple to prove this - show the ratio of jailbroken to non-jailbroken devices... I'm sure with all the telemetry in play these days that tehy can do this...

    ... although since I expect that the percentage of jailbroken devices will be little more than a rounding error, it would be a pretty suicidal move!

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