back to article The Epic vs Apple trial is wrapping up, but the battle has just begun

It’s almost over. On Monday, Epic Games and Apple wrapped up their arguments in the high-stakes bench trial taking place in Oakland’s Federal Court. The previous three weeks demonstrated what happens when two companies with market capitalizations the size of nation states try to use the legal system to fundamentally shape …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

    Nobody is disputing "Apple’s ironclad control". Apple has every right to police its Store as it sees fit.

    The dispute is over money. 30%, to be precise, and I think that that is way too much for a platform that is done and dusted and resells the same bytes over and over again 24/7.

    5%.

    That's the limit.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

      But the question is whether that dispute over money means Apple has to be forced to lower it's rates or if "if you don't like it bugger off to a different OS/Marketplace" is a sufficient answer. Because if the judge rules that Apple cannot reasonably take 30% on it's own platform or must allow other marketplaces in it's OS then that sets a rather nasty precedent that's likely going to work it's way all the way up to the Supreme Court before getting settled and will make much noise all the way along.

      1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

        You forgot option 3: Allow app makers to use other payment providers, even if it's watered down to "Allow app makers to tell customers that it's cheaper pay via a website rather than in app"

    2. Invidious Aardvark

      Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

      So who gets the other 90%? After all, Epic are also just selling “the same bytes over and over again” so they’re also only entitled to 5% because you think them getting 70% is egregious too, right?

      I mean, their platform is done and dusted - they make their money selling cosmetics and other in-game tat to their playerbase. They’ve made the money they invested in the game many times over already, same as Apple have with the iPlatform.

      It’s going to take something more than your gut feeling that Apple charges too much to make me feel sympathy for either side in this case. Epic could quite easily have just gone “Sorry people, Apple charges too much so we’re dropping support for the iDevice market”. That would have earned my respect and may even have caused some pain to Apple. Instead, they pulled an Apple and went to court.

      A pox on both their houses.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

        Well, in my opinion, which has no legal value, Epic made the thing that someone wants to buy, meaning they're providing the value to the other side. Apple provided that value when the user wanted to buy an iPhone, so they keep that profit. Epic provide the value when a gamer wants to buy whatever useless thing they're selling (I don't know what they sell), so Epic should keep that profit. I don't think Apple should have the universal right to demand the exclusive right to payments their users make.

        1. DoctorNine

          Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

          That's not really true. Maintaining an environment in which business can be conducted, has value of its own, and has been recognized as such since the first organized markets rented out stalls in the Neolithic. What can be observed with dead certainty, is that 'value' is always extant, when one person is willing to pay someone else for it. What the thing is that gets paid for, is not always so cut and dried though. It can be hard goods, services, or even a chance at the possibility of future profit. Humans are insanely creative when it comes to figuring out how to make a profit.

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

            @DoctorNine What doublelayer said is true and even though this is true “Maintaining an environment in which business can be conducted, has value of its own” it is irrelevant to the point doublelayer was making.

            “I don't think Apple should have the universal right to demand the exclusive right to payments their users make.”

            Or to put it another way I don't think Apple should have the universal right to demand their users can only conduct business through their (Apple's) environment.

            I know doublelayer said it better. :)

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

              "I don't think Apple should have the universal right to demand their users can only conduct business through their (Apple's) environment."

              Naive. Don't buy an iPad/iPhone if you don't like the model. It's pretty simple really.

              1. X5-332960073452
                Stop

                Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

                But 99% of iDevice users are unaware of the 30% cut Apple take

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

        It's a bit like your landlord expecting you to pay him a cut of your payrise or your new job. Dont like it move out seems more mafia than business.

        1. Antonius_Prime

          Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

          Bit of a strawman argument there.

          I mean, by your reasoning, if you don't have a car, your portion of taxes shouldn't go towards maintaining the roads.

          One thing this case has brought to light is that a flat fee of X% per dev is probably something that needs to be reexamined. (Remember, Google have a similar structure, as does Steam - and Epic on their own storefront.)

          If I were to start developing apps for sale as a 1 man show and charge 0.99 currency per app/IAP, why should I only get .7 of it back per app if I "only" sell 100,000 apps/IAP in a year. (That figure, like all good stats is pulled directly from my ar$e... YMMV)

          Contrast that with Epic or another big name like King. They sell way more than 100,000 apps/IAP per year. I'd wager that they sell an order of magnitude more than that a month.

          I'll let the maths as an exercise for those interested.

          Who's getting screwed more? Yeah, they're both getting 30% taken off the top, but if I expect to get 100,000 but instead 70,000 compared to Epic expecting 100,000,000 and getting 70,000,000. Who does it affect financially more? The large developer who has a diversified and stable platform or the lone dev who's on one platform starting out?

          I'd said it before on one article and I'll say it again.

          Epic only went after Apple for 2 reasons:

          1. Visibilty (I's fashionable to dunk on and hate Apple)

          2. The size of the playerbase on that platform is smaller than on Playstation, Windows and Android. It's less of a loss to them. Imagine what would happen if MS banned the Epic store app from Windows...

          Not to take Apple's side on this, because the App Store model needs changes more than a newborn with diarhea, but Epic are doing this purely because they know if they make this noisey and even get it thrown out, they can strong arm Sony,. MS and Google.

          If they win, they'll still strong arm them from a better position plus have money from Apple to do so.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

            You made an excellent example:

            "Imagine what would happen if MS banned the Epic store app from Windows..."

            This is great. Because MS can't ban them from Windows because they want money. Microsoft does not charge them for the right to have a Windows binary. They don't collect their transactions. They don't restrict who can run code on Windows. That's what Apple thinks it should have the right to do.

    3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

      "I think that that is way too much for a platform that is done and dusted and resells the same bytes over and over again 24/7."

      It depends on the costs incurred, and also on the relative market costs to achieve the same publishing reach by other means. That 30% also gets your product marketed to hundreds of millions of potential punters; if you're Epic you might have a similar kind of reach, but for the vast majority of app publishers 30% is a steal compared to what you'd have to pay to reach the same client base through other means.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

        "That 30% also gets your product marketed to hundreds of millions of potential punters;"

        I don't think it really does. Unless coming up when people search for the name counts as marketing. They don't include advertising with App Store publishing, so unless you show up in one of their lists of nice apps, then you don't really get anything related to marketing. I don't know if anyone ever reads those lists, nor do I know if Epic has ever appeared in them. I'd be curious whether people would take a deal which is "You may use other payment providers and you will never appear in any of our suggested app lists". I expect most would take that contract.

        Apple's services are in providing a CDN for downloading the base package, and that's it. They don't host any of the other app-related services. That certainly doesn't cost 30%, and that isn't even used when doing in-app purchases.

        1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

          Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

          If Epic made $700 million, then Apple made $300 million, just on Fortnite alone. I really can't see in any way, shape or form that Apple has provided $300 million on marketing and providing a CDN.

          1. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

            It's obviously it was just about worth it or else EPIC would not have stayed for the $700 million. It's not about whether Apple provided that much value that Epic would still have chosen them if there was a cheaper option, it the fact that Apple had seen to it that the choice was be on iOS or don't.

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

              As a company director you would forfeit $700 million? You wouldnt be director for long.

    4. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

      it's not about the % it's about antitrust.

      What happens if epic loses? They sell their app through the only market permitted for app sales. They have no other choice there is no open market. Which is why this should be an open and shut case.

      However this is America. Money talks. I.e. the legal system is up for sale.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

        "What happens if epic loses? They sell their app through the only market permitted for app sales."

        The terms haven't changed. They signed up for it, and enjoyed it for many years. They should try to negotiate better terms -but that's about it.

    5. DS999 Silver badge

      Why is 30% "way too much"?

      Do you want to regulate how much profit a company can make? Would you force Apple and Samsung to sell phones for lower prices despite having many millions of willing buyers at the current price, or do you only want to place limits on products consisting of "bytes"?

      What other industries do you want to regulate to limit the amount of money they can make? All of them, or just certain ones you feel are wrong for making too much money while ignoring others who do the same but don't run afoul of your personal tolerance for profits?

      1. UK DM

        Re: Why is 30% "way too much"?

        No but as I commented in a previous thereg story on this topic.

        If it were the UK, Consumer protection laws should override certain items in their contract terms.

        1) the vendor should be allowed to breakdown costs at the point of sale, this would indicate just how little the vendor receives, apples terms don't allow this.

        2) the vendor should be allowed to offer the customer a choice to buy via an alternative mechanism at the point of sale

        3) this means that the customer is given choices for the same product that may have different total costs to the consumer, but apple terms also ensure their platform has best pricing so you cannot charge more for delivery on an apple platform

        Apple should breakdown the various costs to allow vendors to all carte the items, app store listing, app approval, app marketing, app distribution, app support, app payment.

        Apps once reviewed get (counter) signed by apple, digital signature, to allow distribution and loading from any source.

        Epic are big enough to be able to manage everything themselves.

        If vetting apps is a significant cost then all vendors should be forced to pay for this process, per update if needed. Not have the small % of paying apps fund the rest.

        It's a good job the PC turned out to be multi functional computer, I don't see why the mobile phone is something special.

        Anyhow all walled gardens eventually collapse, give it another 10y.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Why is 30% "way too much"?

        Well 30% if the market will pay it, that's fine. However Apple have very little competition. Epic are big enough to perhaps create their own market. If Android are better then Fortnite players may dump their iPhone and buy something that can play their games.

    6. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

      I have no idea what the judge will say but I think it was completely obvious to Epic that iOS is a walled garden and a company either agrees to the rules or they GTFO. They might not like paying 30% but that's the terms and conditions that Apple set. The same goes for any other walled garden platform such as a games console.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: walled garden

        No. Apple has *every* right to make a walled garden but does NOT have the right to enforce that rule as draconian on BOTH developers AND users.

        Companies have the right to charge what they please, accepting payments in the manner that pleases them. Similarly, users have the right to *either* choose to stay with the walled garden (buy products and services exclusively from the car dealership), or not.

        Apple has ENFORCED the fact that users MUST deal exclusively with their original car dealer for ALL transactions, as well as Apple enforcing that all suppliers selling products to said dealerships give them a definitive portion of their own profits.

        You see what happens when you simply switch paradigms? You would NEVER allow a car dealer to tell you that you must deal with them EXCLUSIVELY or they'll turn off your car. But that is what Apple is doing, and you are attempting to support it.

        Not in 1,000 years is Apple's stance acceptable.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: walled garden

          Actually, yes it does.Total and absolute control. As much as I hate Apple products it is their platform and their rules. If you don't like their rules then don't buy Apple products.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: walled garden

            three words: Internet Explorer Anti-trust

    7. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

      If Apple has every right to police it's store how it sees fit then it has every right to charge what it likes. If Apple is charging too much for the market then they will simply go elsewhere. Oh they can't do that? Then Apple has a monopoly and does not have every right to police it's store this way!

  2. Ilsa Loving

    Knock on effect

    This seems to me to potentially have far larger ramifications, similar to Google vs Oracle. Regardless of which way this goes, I believe this is going to affect all closed marketplaces, such as traditional game console companies.

    1. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Knock on effect

      @Ilsa Loving I agree this case does have larger ramifications. On the surface it is just about money are Apple charging to much should Epic get more that is what Epic and Apple are fighting over.

      But I see this case as who truly owns a device the purchaser of the device or the maker of the device.

      If the purchaser of a device does not have the right to decide what software they will install, because the device maker controls what software can be installed.

      If the purchaser can’t source software from the supplier of their choice because the device maker will only allow them to purchase software through them.

      Then who truly owns the device certainly not the device purchaser.

      I could not care less what Apple charge 1%, 15%, 30% or 50% it is their store. My problem is with the lock in, Apple have the power to decide what can and can’t be installed and the price.

      If it is ok for Apple to do this what next. Maybe the next generation of Electric Cars will have an app in them so you can only charge them using Tesla Pay or Ford Pay. Or maybe they can only be charged through the manufacturer’s charging stations and their own payment system.

      I want Apple to lose not because I support Epic or hate Apple. I want Apple to lose because I believe when you buy something you own it not the manufacturer. I want Apple to lose because the result of the case will affect other manufacturers.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: Knock on effect

        Nailed it, and I agree. Hopefully, if the ruling goes against Apple, then we will see the walled gardens for the game consoles get torn down as well. Not that I game at all, just a moderator on a gaming platform and I sympathize with the "owners" of these consoles.

        We don't tolerate computers being this locked into a walled garden. It is, however, becoming readily apparent that many manufacturers put a ton of skull-sweat figuring out how to extract rents after you have already purchased the item. Intolerable and I will never purchase any device that is designed to function in this manner.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Knock on effect

        You own the physical device and the device comes with an operating system. That operating system works within some parameters.

        If you want to enjoy the device as intended - with full iOS and what not - then there are limitations on what it can support.

        You can install whatever software you want on your physical device, but not on the default operating system.

        You (well we) can certainly force Apple to allow all sorts of other stores and avenues to be installed on the operating system, but it seems akin, in my eyes, to forcing Epic to provide full support, bandwidth etc. to any random game someone has sold on a 3rd party website.

        Basically: "Thank you for building a great system and putting devices in the hands of millions, now give me free stuff"

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Knock on effect

          What free stuff would they be giving you or anyone in that case? They would be allowing you to run code made by someone else, paid for by you, retrieved from the developers directly. Apple wouldn't be required to give you anything. If you chose to use third-party apps, only you and the developer would have value transferred.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no point

    Neither of them have respectable business practices. Just greed. 30% is to much, and cheating on your contract is dirty. I hope they both suffer huge fines. But the fines will just go to the criminal body pretending to regulate them just to skim their own 25% off.

    Bunch of dirtbags fighting over who gets to con -us- out of our money.

    This is why I don't buy apps.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: no point

      "Just greed. 30% is to much"

      How do you know? It's a lot, certainly, but do you have insight into Apple's costs of maintaining the ecosystem, plus the costs of achieving the same marketing reach through other means?

      Most products out there are priced way beyond the wholesale commodity cost of the product itself, and you're paying for a 'value layer' around the product because most of us don't have the skill or can't be bothered to put all the various bits together for a complete solution.

      Apple offers that complete solution, and until you've analysed the economics it's not accurate to say 30% is 'too much'.

      1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Re: no point

        "How do you know? It's a lot, certainly, but do you have insight into Apple's costs of maintaining the ecosystem, plus the costs of achieving the same marketing reach through other means?"

        Apple did go through a bunch of these things during the trial. As soon as they linked the store profits to developing new hardware like the M1 chip then statements like the one you make above loses credibility more so when the statements implied that the iPhone itself was a loss leader.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: no point

          "As soon as they linked the store profits to developing new hardware like the M1 chip then statements like the one you make above loses credibility"

          How so? Is Apple not allowed to use profits from one division to fund another? Crikey. Must inform every single Fortune500 company out there that they're ONLY allowed to have divisions run as individual profit-and-loss silos and there must be NO cross-funding between them. Dear oh dear.

          Definition '...too much' means there's no business justification for an excessive profit margin. Companies owning divisions where sales of one product funds the development of another are NOT 'too much' - in any way shape or form. Half the companies on the planet would be out of business if that were the case.

          1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

            Re: no point

            My quote been taken out of context. to feed your

            How so? Is Apple not allowed to use profits from one division to fund another? Crikey.

            The context is "That's how much it takes to run the store" which quite a few people are using as a defence for the 30% cut that apple take.

            As most Fortune500 companies do not have a captive market that they can exploit then they are free to have one division subsidize another. When they do have a monopoly anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws typically apply preventing them from exploiting the monopoly.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              Re: no point

              "The context is "That's how much it takes to run the store" which quite a few people are using as a defence for the 30% cut that apple take."

              I submit that your 'context' is completely made up. What is 'quite a few people', and where is it documented that they're linking it to how much is needed to run the store? Of course that's not the case, because it's not a silo; neither Apple nor (more pertinently) Epic or any other competitor are suggesting that this is the case.

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: no point

        It's Apple's stranglehold on the market that allows 30%. Perhaps if there was more choice that 30% would look less attractive . You don't need the law to tell Apple what that percentage should be, market forces will do that providing they are allowed to operate.

    2. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Colin Wilson 2 - Apple have got this right!

      Epic was not cheating, they demonstrated that the 30% you pay for a supposed iron-clad control over the application and the respect of the store requirements by application developers is a scam, by managing to slip into their application a feature that is explicitly banned by Apple.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Colin Wilson 2 - Apple have got this right!

        "Epic was not cheating, they demonstrated that the 30% you pay for a supposed iron-clad control over the application and the respect of the store requirements by application developers is a scam, by managing to slip into their application a feature that is explicitly banned by Apple."

        Are you saying Apple would be justified in upping the cut to 35% so that they can afford stopping this sort of thing? That sort of argument cuts both ways...

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: Colin Wilson 2 - Apple have got this right!

          At this stage Apple should charge what ever it wants. It's a business decision. It need have nothing to do with the running costs as long as they are covered. Does the Apple service provide enough value for people to continue paying. Clearly if Epic are trying very hard to get round the Apple payment system then it does not.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Colin Wilson 2 - Apple have got this right!

            the point of the case is that Apple is enforcing a monopoly on its users' devices and using that to charge what it wants to the detriment of its customers and suppliers.

            Epic or anyone else can provide a similar service at a reduced cost to all apple consumers, but they are prevented from doing so.

            Yes, Google and Steam charge the same, but on the platforms, they operate on, you are welcome to shop elsewhere or publish yourself, which many developers do, and Epic did originally.

  4. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

    Are Apple doing a good job at securing the iStore

    As apple has conceded the following

    > Apple’s leadership was “blindsided” when they learned Epic had snuck an unauthorised payment system into Fortnite, after what was previously a productive and cordial working relationship.

    Then how well are they securing the store. After all their biggest apps should get the tightest scrutiny as they will have the biggest impact.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Are Apple doing a good job at securing the iStore

      But also have the most trusted developers - probably ones they talk to regularly.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Are Apple doing a good job at securing the iStore

      They aren't getting copies of the source code so their evaluation isn't foolproof, and if an app talks to a company's server and gets instructions about what to do from it they can "flip a switch" to change its behavior without any change to the app itself.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Are Apple doing a good job at securing the iStore

      "Then how well are they securing the store. After all their biggest apps should get the tightest scrutiny as they will have the biggest impact."

      Timing could be a factor. Time it takes to reanalyze something might be too long for an update by what had been a good partner. This is especially true for security and bug patches.

  5. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of Software Engineering, was forced to concede that MacOS has a malware problem."

    He wasn't 'forced to concede' anything of the sort, and twisting the sentence "Apple blocks billions of dollars of fraudulent transactions" into the implication that MacOS has a malware problem is an epic (pun intended) mischaracterisation. Almost libellous in its deceit. That Apple won't take your calls is no excuse for lies and petty jealousy Reg; people come here for the unvarnished truth, and not unrecognisably biased spin.

    Footnote: the linked article says this about Apple/fraud/malware detection: "Apple announcing earlier this week - the timing was impeccable - that it blocked $1.5bn in potentially fraudulent transactions during 2020, with more than three million stolen credit cards blocked from the platform.

    The iGiant also claimed to have blocked 215,000 apps for privacy violations, as well as 48,000 apps containing hidden or undocumented features, ultimately resulting in 470,000 developer accounts terminated."

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      This is tough for me, because you're partly right and partly wrong, each to a large degree.

      You're absolutely right that he was not forced to concede anything of the kind. His statements about malware were made as part of his argument. Epic didn't need him to say that and he volunteered the statements.

      You're wrong though because you're assuming the statements misconstrued here were about fraudulent payments. He made those statements too, but that's not what they were talking about. This is what they were talking about:

      "There are multiple stores on the Mac," Judge Rogers told the exec according to reports. "So, if that can happen on the Mac, why should we not allow the same stores to exist on the phone?"

      "It’s certainly how we’ve done it on the Mac," replied Federighi, "and it’s regularly exploited on the Mac. iOS has established a dramatically higher bar for customer protection. The Mac is not meeting that bar today.

      [...]

      "And as I say, today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable and is much worse than iOS. Put that same situation in place for iOS and it would be a very bad situation for our customers."

      Quoted article

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        You may well be right, but that's not the article quoted or linked in the Register article.

        That said, your link does talk about malware on MacOS, and it's fair to say he acknowledged a malware problem in the article you provided.

        Looks like Reg linked the wrong article to support the premise.

    2. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      He wasn't 'forced to concede'

      Of course because the other option was perjury

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        He wasn't asked the question; he offered the statement. Out of the entire phrase "forced to concede", the only accurate word is 'to'.

  6. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The lawyers have more paydays coming

    Whichever side loses will appeal against the judgement - and this case will probably end up being settled by the Supreme Court.

    Both sides have enough money to fund long running appeals.

    As far as Apple "taxing" in app purchases, it is very difficult to see any justification for the "tax". Apple are not providing any service - they are just demanding money with menaces.

    When it comes to the initial purchases of apps, there is one major difference between Apple and Google - with Android it is easy to install applications from locations other than the Play Store, with IOS on iPhones this is not possible. Google might well be able to argue in court that it is not a monopoly supplier of apps for Android but Apple most certainly IS a monopoly supplier of apps to iPhones/iPads.

    Icon for what should happen to lawyers ===========>

    1. Gunboat Diplomat

      Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

      "As far as Apple "taxing" in app purchases, it is very difficult to see any justification for the "tax". Apple are not providing any service - they are just demanding money with menaces."

      That isn't entirely fair, they are effectively providing a hosting service for packages so there is a service and some costs.

      The big problem is that there is no alternative so this is a rigged market. I don't have a problem with apple making money from the app store, but I do have a problem with them banning rival app stores as that is an antitrust problem.

      1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

        Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

        Apple has already taken 30% of the purchase price of the app - this is more than enough to cover the hosting and other costs. Taking 30% of in app purchases has no justification other than "We are so big that we can take your money and there is nothing you can do about it".

        1. Blue Pumpkin

          Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

          Except, if I understand correctly, the purchase price is zero. So Apple hosts and distributes effectively for nothing.

          Thus it is not unreasonable to take a cut of in-app purchases.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

            "Except, if I understand correctly, the purchase price is zero. So Apple hosts and distributes effectively for nothing.

            Thus it is not unreasonable to take a cut of in-app purchases."

            eBay had to change policies when sellers offered items for .99 and 24.99 shipping to get around the eBay fees.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

          "Apple has already taken 30% of the purchase price of the app - this is more than enough to cover the hosting and other costs. Taking 30% of in app purchases has no justification other than "We are so big that we can take your money and there is nothing you can do about it"."

          Honestly? You do understand that every software house would make the initial purchase dirt cheap, and put all payments into add-ons? Thus avoiding the 30% entirely. This isn't hard to figure out.

          1. Eguro
            Thumb Up

            Re: The lawyers have more paydays coming

            Indeed.

            Free installer on the app store, buy the game with the installer afterwards.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    "Can Apple loosen its grip without risking user safety or privacy?"

    The only security Apple cares about its that of easy profits. Anyway that the same argument valid for governments - are you ready to give away your freedom for more "security"?

  8. JWLong Bronze badge

    The Bench

    .......has already stated that neither side of this fight is going to like it's discission in this matter.

    The Apple app store generated 85 BILLION in revenue in 2020. I can only imagine that 4/5's of that was profit.

    I think that what's going to happen is the court will let Apple maintain the store as is, but will force Apple to allow side loading of apps to IOS.

    And for Apple's claim that MACOS has two many viruses, well welcome to the real world Apple. Now, start fixing it like every other OS available to consumers. They are all security FUBAR's.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: The Bench

      Forcing side-loading would be the worst conclusion for everyone bar a handful of geeks who want to install their own apps.

      Android already allows side-loading but there aren't any major competing stores to Google Play. So devs would still be stuck with iTunes and it's ludicrous cut. However you've now weakened end user security for most folk. Maybe Apple could require side-loading to be explicitly enabled but then you've just upped the bar for the Epic Store. (More litigation...)

      It is annoying to me as a geek that I can't install my own apps developed on non-Apple hardware. But I accept most users benefit from this arrangement. I have no problem with Apple taking a reasonable cut, either. But what they take is gratuitous. Reducing Apple's rate to a fair market rate would be the best for everyone - Apple would still end up with more money than if competing payment providers were allowed into the market and started munching Apple's apples.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sideload bad

        No Google Play alternatives, except of course, Samsung Galaxy store, Huawei AppGallery, Amazon appstore, f-droid, etc.

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Would we accept to go only in Toyota gas stations if you own a Toyota, or in Ford's ones if you own a Ford? Why should we accept that for apps intended for a specific hardware? Open the distribution market!

    I thought that competition was good for consumers, as was freedom of choice. Let's prove it.

    1. Kracula
      Pint

      Exactly the core of the issue

      Bravo Sir. One of the few here that seems to have grasped the most significant outcome of this trial. The real question here is if Apple is entitled to force developers to use it's payment system for apps and in-app purchases or not. I know the Apple argument of their app being the best and allowing them to keep customers safe from fraud and scams, but for me this 'everything Apple' doctrine resembles a lot the Windows + IE thing Microsoft got in trouble for a few years ago. Who is to say that the current 30% would not became 60% or 80% if there is no other alternative to reach iOS customers?

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Exactly the core of the issue

        Yup.

        I also pay Apple nearly £100 a year to use their development kit and submit apps.

        I don’t know how many active Apple devs there are but there is money in there.

        Extra pint.... because.

  10. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    If Epic is so big, how come they haven't negotiated a better deal with Apple?

    Apple could make all this go away by having better deals for major customers.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      "If Epic is so big, how come they haven't negotiated a better deal with Apple?"

      Apple doesn't offer any deals. They recently changed from one option to two options to avoid more legal scrutiny. It didn't work. They feel that, because they have a platform and can prevent people from posting, that they have enough leverage to demand whatever price they want and the other side will have to pay.

  11. po

    Tim Cook has no idea of how much money the App store makes? Really?

    I am still trying to get my head around the fact that Tim Cook, Apple's CEO and former CFO, stood in front of a judge and, under oath, claimed he had no idea how much money the App Store makes. I mean, seriously? How is that possible? I can assure you that it's a question that analysts have asked him on numerous occasions and the company has previously provided detailed analysis of trade volumes through the platform: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/06/apples-app-store-ecosystem-facilitated-over-half-a-trillion-dollars-in-commerce-in-2019/

    Soooooooooo, got to ask, is Mr. Cook aware that the penalty for perjury in California is up to four years in prison? It would be interesting to see the communications between the CEO and Apple's Investor Relations team over the past couple of years.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Tim Cook has no idea of how much money the App store makes? Really?

      Are you talking about revenue, or profit? I'm sure the cost for maintaining the App Store is quite difficult to pin down, as it's spread across various departments. The servers, the app store back end, the app, the iOS features needed by the app, and so on. You might even be able to say that the entire cost of providing hardware to user the app store is such a cost.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Tim Cook has no idea of how much money the App store makes? Really?

        There are such things as management accountants. And large companies use them, precisely so they can estimate such cost breakdowns. After all, they need to know that an individual department is making a profit, or they'll stop doing it or sell it off.

        When I worked in the finance department of a US multi-national, our management accountants regularly tested each business unit not only that it was making a profit, but that it made a larger return than just putting the money it cost into government or corporate bonds. And if not, it had to be justified why it was either worth doing anyway, or would make more money in future.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Tim Cook has no idea of how much money the App store makes? Really?

      "I am still trying to get my head around the fact that Tim Cook, Apple's CEO and former CFO, stood in front of a judge and, under oath, claimed he had no idea how much money the App Store makes."

      I'm very sure that Ms. Cook was well prepared to take the stand, but the question wasn't anticipated or far too involved to try and state to the court. It may have been better to claim ignorance rather than open a big can of worms.

  12. Antonius_Prime

    Anyone remembered that Epic have their own store?

    On Windows. Yeah, its "only" 12% but it does have exclusives that don't appear on other storefronts (Steam, Ubi, EA, etc) so that does make their arguments about controlling the market a bit hollow...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Anyone remembered that Epic have their own store?

      If they give a discount for being exclusive, then maybe not so much?

    2. Gunboat Diplomat

      Re: Anyone remembered that Epic have their own store?

      "that does make their arguments about controlling the market a bit hollow..."

      No it doesn't, as there are other stores available on Windows including Steam which is by far the largest. They are free to compete for products and exclusivity deals and customers can choose to have one or all the stores on their machine - something not possible on IOS.

  13. fishman

    No sympathy.

    So if Epic wins, will users see a 30% discount? At best there may be a small discount at first, and then the prices will go up to the "what the market will bear" level which is probably what it is at now. 30% is probably too high but it's not like consumers will see much savings if any if it is reduced or eliminated.

  14. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Costs

    This case should have been just about a breach of contract. Epic signed the contract and should have to live by it until the next time it comes up for renewal. If they are contributing so much to Apple's coffers, they should be in a good position to get some concessions.

    30% sounds a lot until you look at the details. If the cost of a transaction is $.25 and the sale is $1, the net on the 30% is 5%. That doesn't account for servers, electricity, software development and tools. If average transactions were around $100, that would be a different story as the costs would amortize better. I expect that what Apple nets after all costs has to be looked at statistically and can't be easily nailed down to a fixed cost per transaction.

    There is also the matter of data security compliance across many countries. That alone is a big cost in attorneys that any one developer may not be able to afford. There may also be age restrictions that need ID verification that differ from country to country and even within a country.

    If Epic doesn't feel they are getting value for money, they can simply choose not to renew their agreements with Apple. An iOS user that really wants to play Fortnight can purchase a cheap Android device and go that route. I don't think that Epic is going to lose customers at this point if they are not on a certain platform.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Costs

      "30% sounds a lot until you look at the details. If the cost of a transaction is $.25 and the sale is $1, the net on the 30% is 5%."

      You just made up those numbers and they're utterly ridiculous. The cost is nothing like that. It never was, and it certainly isn't now.

      "Epic signed the contract and should have to live by it until the next time it comes up for renewal. If they are contributing so much to Apple's coffers, they should be in a good position to get some concessions."

      Apple does not offer concessions. They won't, because they have a lot more power because they have a monopoly on IOS app distribution. That's what this case is about because that can be illegal.

      "There is also the matter of data security compliance across many countries. That alone is a big cost in attorneys that any one developer may not be able to afford."

      This is a rubbish argument. Apple does not assist developers with this compliance. Those costs are entirely the responsibility of developers and have always been. If you're using the throw anything at the wall defense, it's best not to throw outright lies up there. At least misstate the truth, come on.

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