back to article Sort-of Epic win as judge kills Apple ban on apps linking to outside payment systems

Epic Games on Friday won a Pyrrhic victory against Apple in its antitrust lawsuit, with US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruling that Apple must allow developers to tell customers about third-party payments systems. But Epic will not immediately benefit from that decision because the judge also determined that Apple has …

  1. Si 1

    Epic Greed

    It seems Epic got greedy trying to abolish payments altogether and ended up only slightly better than before. I know Apple aren’t popular around these parts and the 30% charge is excessive, but I do think they should receive some sort of recompense considering they host the app, distribute the updates, provide the APIs, development tools, etc. They are a business and not a charity after all.

    It will be interesting to see how Apple handle this. I’m sure they will try various tricks to discourage people using external payment platforms, like being extra picky about approving apps, maybe making changes to the T&Cs so that only reputable payment platforms can be used, etc. I’m sure they’ll be looking for ways to skirt this judgement.

    The judge in this case was very impressive, she really seemed to know her stuff and wasn’t in the least bit afraid of calling these mega-corps out on any bovine excrement they would throw out.

    1. sbt
      Facepalm

      I’m sure they’ll be looking for ways to skirt this judgement.

      Stand by for a massive increase in developer program membership costs and no more free access to Xcode or other tooling needed to create apps.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: I’m sure they’ll be looking for ways to skirt this judgement.

        Seems like it would be easier to charge based on downloads. Get the first 100,000 free or whatever then start charging. That leaves small developers untouched, and big developers with millions of downloads who have the ability to set up their own payment systems and offer free apps where they make all their money via in-game purchases will have to pay something for using Apple's platform.

        Despite Epic trying to push for no commissions, the app store they've set up for third party game extracts a fee (12% IIRC) so they are themselves doing what they were suing Apple over doing!

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: I’m sure they’ll be looking for ways to skirt this judgement.

          "Despite Epic trying to push for no commissions, the app store they've set up for third party game extracts a fee (12% IIRC) so they are themselves doing what they were suing Apple over doing!"

          But it doesn't make people use it, so if you don't want to pay them, you can still distribute your software and pay them nothing. If Apple had multiple methods of getting apps onto their devices, then they could charge whatever they wanted (assuming they didn't cheat to advance their option) because they could be competed downward. It is the combination of charging an arbitrary fee and not having any competition which causes the problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Epic Greed

      Yeah, this was an interesting ruling because both parties we pushing largely indefensible positions. It was rich to hear the judge rake Epic over the coals for failing to make a case the the judge implied could have been made, and their all or nothing attack on Apple's 30% cut. Let me use your infrastructure for free and keep all of the profits isn't a sound or defensible position, and the Judge as much as said that they could have succeeded if they had stuck to the tack that 30% is insane and unjustifiable.

      Hopefully having been given the boot, someone other than Epic will make and prevail on the stronger argument in a future case.

      1. rcxb1 Bronze badge

        Re: Epic Greed

        <blockquote>Let me use your infrastructure for free and keep all of the profits isn't a sound or defensible position</blockquote>

        No, but "Stop blocking other app stores" is 100% defensible.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Epic Greed

          There is no guarantee that Apple will let Epic back into the App Store after this verdict. The judge has ruled that crApple is not a monopoly.

          "Ok, Epic, you won but I'm still not carrying your product as is my right as a retailer."

          Seconds out... round 2.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Epic Greed

            No, the judge did not say that, and there is another court case on that specific question.

            Apple's media statement is highly misleading. No, I take that back - it's a lie.

          2. juice

            Re: Epic Greed

            > There is no guarantee that Apple will let Epic back into the App Store after this verdict

            Bear in mind that Epic is owned by Tencent, a Chinese mega-corp ($68 billion in revenue in 2020), which owns a lot of game studios (including Sumo Digital from Sheffield) and -depending on who you ask - earns between 35% - 50% of their revenue from online gaming.

            And they're currently taking a bit of hammering in their home turf, as the Chinese government is currently targetting video games as a "social evil" and drastically limiting how much time children can spend playing video games.

            https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-09-08/china-tells-tencent-netease-of-need-for-tighter-games-oversight

            So I'm sure that Tencent is more than happy with the ruling, as it gives them a chance to extract a bit more money from iOS within their international markets.

            And since $20 - $30 billion in annual gaming revenue is big enough to make even Apple take not, I suspect that there's going to be some realpolitik between Tencent and Apple.

            In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Fortnite IP being sold off to a "third party" also owned by Tencent, so that it can reappear on the App Store...

        2. martyn.hare
          Thumb Up

          It is perfectly defensible thanks to Epic

          Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all do it on their proprietary hardware, why can’t Apple? In fact, why block people from changing OS (not just apps) on these bits of kit? Epic themselves closed off that avenue of attack when they defended the poor practices of games console manufacturers to appear trendy to children,

          The solution to the whole lot is not to play crap “free” video games! Stick to playing proper games made with love and care, which generally don’t exist on mobile.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It is perfectly defensible thanks to Epic

            "why block people from changing OS"

            If you can change OS then you can bypass all their software security along with escaping their overpricing.

            Personally I always felt that if you are not free to use their hardware as you like then they should be required to buy it back form you when you have finished with it, if it is still working then selling back should return virtually the sale cost.

            I can understand their desire to maintain their control but if you sell something then a portion of the price is for passing control to the purchaser.

      2. mevets

        Re: Epic Greed

        Henry Kissinger, who was a horrible human, made a pithy remark: "It's a pity both sides can't lose".

        In a heartbeat; EPIC would have no part of apple's distribution infrastructure; but it does not have a choice. The charges are clearly highway robbery. Of course, EPIC tried to subvert it rather than fight the elephant head on; so moral high ground is conceded.

        Not conceded to Apple, who have milked this cow to create a valuation illusion that may crumple once the courts decide they are stealing from the poor to give to the rich (themselves). And while justice is blind, it isn't a pauper. The valuation of APPL is integrated into indices, infrastructure, etc... Don't hold your breath for a revolution.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Epic Greed

          The problem with accusing Apple of greed is the apparent bias in that statement: Google does exactly the same. It is also not even the worst persistent ripoff in the market: try selling a book through Amazon and see how much you get from that, and from what I hear it's still pretty crappy in the music market as well until you're popular enough to dictate your own terms.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Epic Greed

            Have an upvote for including Amazon.

            If I'm lucky I'll get £20 a month from my 30% cut. Amazon take 70% for doing IMHO SFA.

            Posting A/C coz I don't want to be kicked off mind you for £200 quid a year it is hardly worth staying on their platform.

            I'd happily settle for AMZN taking APPL's 30% cut and not relegating my books to the trash bin.

        2. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Epic Greed

          "Henry Kissinger, who was a horrible human"

          Kissinger is still alive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Epic Greed

            Maybe he just stopped being horrible?

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Epic Greed

      "I do think they should receive some sort of recompense considering they host the app, distribute the updates, provide the APIs, development tools, etc. They are a business and not a charity after all."

      Those things have minor if any justifications. There are two different ones there.

      "host the app, distribute the updates": These two are basically the same--that they provide some bandwidth to download the app packages. Which is a fair point, but A) that costs very little at their scale and B) Epic wanted to host their own store and spare Apple the expense. Since Apple refused to let that happen, it ends up sounding like "They must pay for the thing we force them to use", which is a lot less defensible.

      "provide the APIs, development tools, etc.": They write the OS, and software runs on it. They benefit tremendously from this; if there were no apps other than the ones they write, then many people wouldn't buy their hardware. Like other operating systems, their investment in encouraging developers helps them a lot. They can also choose to make tools which they charge for, and they chose not to. This asks the developers to pay for something they didn't choose to make and may not have chosen to use. App developers are businesses, not bank accounts for Apple's development teams.

      I have heard frequently how Apple is owed gratitude in the form of cash from developers who get to users on Apple's platform, despite the fact that the users would be on someone else's platform if Apple didn't have those developers. In my opinion, you could make an equally cogent argument that Apple owes developers of popular apps for their users and should be paying them a cut of their tremendously profitable hardware sales. It makes just as much sense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Epic Greed

        @"if there were no apps other than the ones they write, then many people wouldn't buy their hardware"

        When Apple first started their service there were only apple apps so your argument is false.

        @"Like other operating systems, their investment in encouraging developers helps them a lot"

        After the fact perhaps, historically hardware vendors have released their products with only their own software. Only since CPM80 was there an existing software market that hardware vendors designed their systems to support, one which MS copied for MSDOS.

        Apple here made their own OS and hardware and EPIC modified their products to fit Apple's existing market thus any benefit EPIC provided to apple is after Apple's market had been shown to be successful.

        On balance their is a big difference in competence and investment levels between designing a novel hardware platform and it's OS and just writing a game reliant upon existing multimedia interfaces.

        Apps can only sell if there is hardware available to support them, as I said since CPM80 there have been a lot of app only devs who have come to believe that they are special when the reality is that they are reliant upon hardware designers for their platform. The only exemptions to the last would be Nintendo and Sony who made their own gaming market just like apple, making their own hardware and software. Yes MS have tried to emulate Nintendo/Sony but their platforms were cut down versions of Windows and thus extensions of the same market

        EPIC could have copied Nintendo or Apple at any time making, their own hardware platforms but instead they chose to minimize their risk and sell just games for other people's hardware platforms.

        It must be said that it has been a long time since their was anything novel in games so in my opinion EPIC are now less significant to the world of computing than Apple are and hence deserve less of the reward.

        Apple created the smart phone market, it changed the world, EPIC just made games.

        Yes EPIC's early stuff for the PC was impressive at the time but it has been decades since they stood out as remarkable.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Epic Greed

          "When Apple first started their service there were only apple apps so your argument is false."

          When Apple started in 2007 and the mobile market today are very different. We've seen this work with others who wanted to start smartphone platforms. In each case, the number of third-party apps was directly linked to the level of success they got. Those with few apps died fast. It's also worth pointing out that Apple started with only their own apps in 2007, a policy which lasted as long as 2008. One year's sales, which incidentally were dwarfed by most other years' sales, isn't proof of anything.

          "historically hardware vendors have released their products with only their own software. Only since CPM80 was there an existing software market that hardware vendors designed their systems to support, one which MS copied for MSDOS."

          No, they made platforms and waited for coders. When Apple built the Apple II, they didn't release it with plenty of other software, but neither did they restrict it to their own code. Developers bought them, wrote the software for them, and sold that software (without giving Apple a cut). As a result, Apple sold a whole bunch of Apple IIs. Other companies which didn't get that much developer attention sold many fewer of their computers. The platform is used by users and developers, and the platform developer benefits as these people buy hardware and software. The platform developer should not have a monopoly on value creation here and they don't.

          As for your judgement calls, I don't care. It is not my decision whether Apple or Epic did the more interesting job. I don't like playing games, so Epic is not getting any money from me. We don't let people gouge others based on them having done something more interesting.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Epic Greed

            @ "When Apple started in 2007 and the mobile market today are very different"

            Apple did not start in 2007.

            Prior to 2007 and the "smartphone", the mobile market was very different, true.

            Apple's move into this market changed it massively with cellular companies having to change their contracts to fit Apple's model. Only after Apple's iphone was there an "apps" market.

            "When Apple built the Apple II, they didn't release it with plenty of other software", Apple created the home micro computer market long before the Apple II, one which other hardware vendors copied, the Apple II was an upgrade in that market rather than a new start.

            For a long time hardware vendors offered only an OS and a BASIC interpreter and that was what people wanted to buy not ready build software but VisiCalc changed the perception of microcomputing from "only for hobbists" to a business tool. CPM brought the hardware independant standardization that enabled a microcomputer hardware vendor independent software market.

            Without CPM there could not have been MSDOS. The Apple Lisa and it's GUI was also a significant milestone in the home computing market, prior to it's release there had been limited third party GUI but these were addons where the lisa made them the interface standard.

            Apple have lead if not created a lot of the innovation of computing that the smartphone market relies upon, it was this that allowed Apple to change the the mobile telephone market away from the complete dominance of the cellular companies to one where not supporting Smart phone's was no longer an option.

            As to software developers having impact upon sales, as I said this is all relatively new. The move away from bespoke system designers who would create both the hardware and software to only meet the customers requirements, to programmers who relied upon existing hardware platforms all happened after Apple's creation of the home computer market and before the Apple II. Accessible hardware had to come first and independent software houses came much much later.

            As to gouging, this is what happens when the consumer has no choice, EPIC here are not the consumer and they always had a choice. They chose the safer option of selling their software for other vendors hardware and then tried to use political manipulation to improve their income against what they had agreed.

            For my part both sides are guilty of greed and stupidity, both chose to play dirty but for my part I still remember what Apple did for computing and that gives them much more leeway than what EPIC have done.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Epic Greed

              I'm afraid that, while your previous comment was opinion based and subject to debate, you're either wrong or nearly so about a lot of the facts alleged in this one. Some of them are not relevant, but I will address them anyway.

              "Apple did not start in 2007."

              Original iPhone: Announced January 2007, released June 2007. If you're counting the partnership to have a phone with a music player, that was a commercial failure and they also didn't build it.

              "Only after Apple's iphone was there an "apps" market."

              Not technically, but basically true. Because phones sped up and now could run more complex apps. Hence my point that apps are very important to the viability of a mobile OS in the current age, as proven by Windows Phone, Firefox OS, and Ubuntu Touch (though that one is getting a bit of a revival).

              "Apple created the home micro computer market long before the Apple II, one which other hardware vendors copied, the Apple II was an upgrade in that market rather than a new start."

              Not really relevant to the point, but basically wrong. They built the Apple I before that, but they sold two hundred of them. That's not creating a market. That's producing an admirable technical achievement. They were instrumental to the market with the millions of Apple IIs that got released and others created it along with them.

              "For a long time hardware vendors offered only an OS and a BASIC interpreter and that was what people wanted to buy not ready build software but VisiCalc changed the perception of microcomputing from "only for hobbists" to a business tool."

              Exactly my point. VisiCalc, not Apple, was the reason the Apple II was so successful outside the hobbyist computing market. That and other software written for the platform because businesses had already purchased them to run VisiCalc. This is why the viability of a platform depends so heavily on the writers of applications for it, and therefore why it makes as much sense to ask Apple to pay their app devs as to go the other way (in each case, no sense).

              "Apple have lead if not created a lot of the innovation of computing that the smartphone market relies upon, it was this that allowed Apple to change the the mobile telephone market away from the complete dominance of the cellular companies to one where not supporting Smart phone's was no longer an option."

              They made a smartphone that people wanted, and that's basically it. You could give Android the same credit. That involved a lot of work, and I commend them for the product they made, but they got paid for that every time I and others bought an iPhone.

              "As to software developers having impact upon sales, as I said this is all relatively new. The move away from bespoke system designers who would create both the hardware and software to only meet the customers requirements, to programmers who relied upon existing hardware platforms all happened after Apple's creation of the home computer market and before the Apple II."

              No, it's relatively old. Bespoke systems you could argue was a lot of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but that's still less time than we've had personal computers on which software written by others was loaded. That's if I concede the bespoke thing at all, because even in the 60s, people loaded their own code on mainframes and could purchase someone's program even though it only ran on a single type of machine. VisiCalc was selling Apple IIs by 1979. It has worked like this through all the decades following. Publishing software sold a lot of Apple's GUI-capable machines in the 80s and 90s, for example. Office sold a lot of Windows boxes. Custom tools which only run on Windows sell them now.

              "Accessible hardware had to come first and independent software houses came much much later."

              As in two years later, forty years ago. We've reached that point.

              "As to gouging, this is what happens when the consumer has no choice, EPIC here are not the consumer and they always had a choice."

              Wrong. Epic has no choice to get people to install their applications on IOS and users of IOS devices have no choice for where to get their applications.

              "They chose the safer option of selling their software for other vendors hardware"

              That's the normal choice. Few software companies sell software which could run on a computer on a single-purpose device. It's called a general-purpose computer because it can run most software, and it can. Microsoft does not charge you for having a Windows binary. Apple doesn't charge for having a Mac OS binary. Google doesn't charge for having an Android binary. In some cases, they may charge for the use of their stores, but in each of the named cases, you have the choice to eschew the stores and let users install the code anyway. Here is where IOS differs and causes the problem.

              "and then tried to use political manipulation to improve their income against what they had agreed."

              They didn't agree, they were given no choice. This was not a negotiation because Apple doesn't do those, and they had no other choice.

              "For my part both sides are guilty of greed and stupidity,"

              I agree here. Epic is not at all altruistic; they just want money. However, they want Apple not to take their money for purposes that have no legitimacy, so I am still reluctantly on their side.

              "both chose to play dirty but for my part I still remember what Apple did for computing and that gives them much more leeway than what EPIC have done."

              I disagree. Being nice once (for lots of money) doesn't mean you can be nasty later without consequences.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Epic Greed

                @doublelayer

                "Apple did not start in 2007", by this I mean that the company commonly called Apple from 1976 onward. The Iphone was not their first product which I am sure you understood since you make reference to the Apple II.

                I can see that you feel that Apple are a particularly greedy computer company and it must be said their products were typically priced much higher than their competitors. That being said their "cheaper" competitors typically did not innovate so much as copy thereby avoiding having to pay for R&D and hence have lower costs over all.

                Take the IBM PC for example originally it was as expensive as apple's offering but the PC's price dropped massively when is was cloned and manufactured in the far east without paying IBM anything. Microsoft still got paid for MSDOS their CMP86 ripoff and again with windows but IBM, the hardware "designer" and partner for what later became NT got effectively dick.

                Comparing Apple's prices against the PC clone market is somewhat unfair unless you feel that R&D is cheap. The PC Cloners dodged having to do R&D so of course they could sell much more cheaper as their start up investment had been lower. You as a consumer profited from the hardware piracy and clearly felt that Apple were charging unreasonable prices

                It must be said Apple did keep their prices high but again this was the case for all the other small computer companies who had to pay for their own R&D and manufacturing.

                Take Acorn Computers for example the computer and upgrades were also expensive compared with their competitors of the time but the clone market also made compatible components available to this market too.

                That the import of cheap components was hitting the local manufacturers in the wallet clearly is less important to you than your access to them.

                That being said once Apple moved the majority of their manufacturing to the far east then I would agree that a price reduction was in order but since the market had shown they were willing to pay the higher price for premium products no business with share holders would do this. Jobbs and Gates were both business men rather than hardware designers, they are the ones who used US business practices to sully computers but it must be said they both have their own popular following.

                As to your theme of software is as important to the success of a hardware platform, if we look at VisiCalc again then it was not that long before every new system had it's own spread sheet where only the IBMPC got cloned for a profit.Yes Russia had it's own clones but they were commercially unsalable in the west. Software doesn't have the same legal protections as hardware at that means that anyone can make their own copy and sell it.

                You say that EPIC had no choice but no one forced them to push their product in the Apple market. EPIC were fully aware how much they would have to pay for the privilege but they still signed up . Clearly they thought they would still make enough money to pay off their costs and still make a profit or they had already thought about breaking their agreement with apple in light of the perception that their products were overpriced.

                I would suggest that ultimate it is US business practices and the associated stockholder laws and demands that make for unreasonable prices. For a long time the cheapness of hardware components and assembly in the far east were enough that the stock holder got to believe that the gravy would come in for ever but advancing technology is becoming increasingly expensive and those costs are starting to become even more of a factor than previously.

                Someone has to pay for the R&D and profit from innovation, for a long time now in computing it has been different people doing the work and getting the reward. You want more of the same and I am saying that it just is not sustainable, there has to be someone along the line that invests in R&D and that means higher costs. Hence why the current trends in computing are actually old designs that predate home computing but with new names, innovation has stalled because the only people left in the market are the leeches and their stock holders.

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: Epic Greed

                  I referred to 2007 in response to this original sentence:

                  "When Apple first started their service there were only apple apps so your argument is false."

                  I assumed you were referring to the original iPhone, which did only include Apple-written apps. I assumed you were not referring to the Apple I, which had no apps and wouldn't be relevant. Hence when Apple started having a mobile device which ran apps, it was 2007. In either case, 2007 and 1976 are very different from 2021 so the argument still holds.

                  I didn't say and don't think that Apple is greedy because their hardware is pricey. I don't really care what they choose to charge--if it's too high which it often is, I'll just not buy it. For that reason, I still use an old iPhone which was the cheapest model when I bought it. I think Apple is illegitimately placing itself in a monopoly decision over software written by others and using that to extract money to which they don't have a right. It is something they did not do with the Mac, for that matter something they didn't do with any product other than IOS ones.

                  "You say that EPIC had no choice but no one forced them to push their product in the Apple market."

                  Apple shouldn't have a right to a monopoly market, and thus it shouldn't be theirs to set a price on. That's the reason. They had a Hobson's choice because the other party was abusing a position of power.

                  "EPIC were fully aware how much they would have to pay for the privilege but they still signed up . Clearly they thought they would still make enough money to pay off their costs and still make a profit or they had already thought about breaking their agreement with apple in light of the perception that their products were overpriced."

                  Possibly, and they're not the company I'd like to see make this challenge, but in most legal cases, you can't sue a company and say "They are anti-competitive, so make them stop so I can compete with them in the future". The law usually requires you to say "They are anti-competitive and have already hurt my business, so make them stop." In order to prove their point, they had to suffer harm.

                  "Someone has to pay for the R&D and profit from innovation, for a long time now in computing it has been different people doing the work and getting the reward. You want more of the same and I am saying that it just is not sustainable, there has to be someone along the line that invests in R&D and that means higher costs."

                  I'm all for R&D. If Apple does R&D, they integrate it into new products. Newer iPhones with lots of modern cameras on the back, neural chips in the middle, and software which my old one can't run. If I want that, I'll buy a new iPhone. This is how R&D works--you make a product and sell it for as much as you want. You're trying to make the case that they should fund their R&D by taking money from others for things they didn't make, forcing them to comply by restricting how software can be received. That's illegal for a reason, and I'm hoping it will be recognized eventually by a court.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Epic Greed

                    @"I assumed you were not referring to the Apple I, which had no apps and wouldn't be relevant" I said at the start "historically" and I would suggest that when it comes to the law and the business practices that use the law to limit competition that what has happened in the past is always significant in court.

                    @"I don't really care what they choose to charge--if it's too high which it often is, I'll just not buy it. " I agree and this is why I have never bought any Apple products, there were other products offering the same service available and if I wanted that feature I would look to another manufacturer. Again less because of the price for buying in than what it would cost to base my future purchasing decisions on this manufacturer. This does not mean that I did not recognize the advancements their R&D had allowed.

                    @"I think Apple is illegitimately placing itself in a monopoly decision over software written by others and using that to extract money to which they don't have a right" I disagree on the grounds that a legal contract, fair or otherwise, was agreed. The law allowed Apple to offer that contract, if there is a fault then it must be with the law more those who use it to limit competition. I would suggest that the relevant laws and agencies charged with preventing monopolies were happy for Apple as an US tax payer to have an advantage under their laws same as it allowed for Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, facebook, google and all the other US companies that were allowed to make their own walled gardens.

                    So why pick on Apple when they are simply operating within the legal and financial environment of the US? I would suggest that If Apple had not joined the US monopolies then they would have been absorbed by those that did and without anyone to do the R&D then computing would have stalled decades earlier. Given that the majority of the monopoly holders in the US make their money by using the law to prevent anyone else from changing the status quo such as advancing the technology that would thereby devaluing the patents that give them their control. So whilst you see Apple as the bad guy I would say they are better than most of their US peers.

                    @"you're trying to make the case that they should fund their R&D by taking money from others for things they didn't make, forcing them to comply by restricting how software can be received" No I am saying that this practice is very much the allowed business method in the US, I do not believe it is right I just recognize that in the US it is the norm and not using these loopholes would put them at a disadvantage that would make then open for loosing their market, something that their share holders would veto.

                    It is all well and good to say that these US companies should have their monopolies removed and law created to bring US law in line with the rest of the world but the reality is that the US business practices and laws are actually replacing the more reasonable ones outside the US because those countries are unable to compete with the US. Pick any US company with a monopoly and if they had been started outside the US the local laws would have prevented any monopoly from coming into being. That is the reality patents and copyright are tools that create monopolies along with my own belief that those that hold the patents are typically not the same people who did the R&D to obtain them. Apple is IMHO one of the few US companies that actually hold patents for things they did the R&D on. Slapping only them down is unlikely to do anything good about the real monster US companies who throttle innovation and bully the rest of the world to keep things from moving forwards.

                    If you want change then it has to be done so all offenders are slapped at the same time and the laws in the US and the world changed so these monopoly companies can never again strangle a market to keep it static and under their control.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Epic Greed Software equally as important as Hardware

                    Lastly on the hardware/software point it is possible to have functional hardware without any software.

                    By this I mean that it is the possible to design functional electronic systems to meet static requirements without any software at all using pure logic.

                    Where software without hardware of some sort does not actually do anything at all.

                    Hence without hardware of some kind, software does not function, making hardware the important component and software just a method to get more utility from your existing hardware.

                    Pedantic I know but I see a lot of annoying posts from newer coders lacking hardware understanding who honestly believe that they can stand alone when the reality is that someone else has to make the tools they are reliant upon.

    4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Epic Greed

      Hosting the app in the store means that it has been evaluated to be clean of malware, phishing, and other issues that cost and risk users - certainly the fees charged are making Apple money, but they are also paying for the safety testing too.

      Could the result of this change mean that free apps will disappear at some point?

      1. mark l 2 Silver badge

        Re: Epic Greed

        Apple charge developers $99 to publish apps on the app store whether they are free or paid for apps, so the justification of charging 30% commission has nothing to do with the reviewing of the apps for malware or viruses as they check all apps before they allow them onto the app store.

        The question now is are Apple going to open up in app 3rd party payment options to the ROW or be stubborn and force app developers to maintain 2 versions of their apps, one for the US app store where you can have external payment options and then another for ROW where its Apple only?

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Epic Greed

          You make the silly assumption that reviewing every version of the app forever is covered by $99.

  2. HAL-9000
    Terminator

    Two wrongs don't make a right, apparently

    It's kind of unusual seeing two greedy Goliath's lose the fight simultaneously. Very rare indeed. There should be a sense of satisfaction right now, that all is well in the big wide world, but the ominous feeling that everyone is going to be shafted harder and longer just won't go away.

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: Two wrongs don't make a right, apparently

      Sure they will be shafted. Also there is also the third party, not always mentioned, the lawyers. And this party always wins.

      Anyway, Apple are wrong on the principles and EPIC are wrong in the specifics. This is one of the cases when one wishes “can't the two just somehow annihilate”? That would leave the world a better place…

  3. Falmari Silver badge

    Pyrrhic victory?

    It is more than a pyrrhic victory.

    If Epic pay the 30% on the previous sales then Apple have no argument not reinstate them in their app store. From then on Epic can offer their 10% cheaper purchase options. This also applies to new apps Epic makes.

    I am sure companies like Blizzard have been watching this case I expect that their game Hearthstone which is also free to install will now offer their own cheaper in game purchase options.

    If this judgement is not appealed by Apple what do Apple do next as a lot of the app stores largest revenue providers will offer cheaper options? Continue an app store that provides little revenue from the largest revenue generators. Or allow other ways to install apps (side loading or other stores).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pyrrhic victory?

      @"If Epic pay the 30% on the previous sales then Apple have no argument not reinstate them in their app store"

      EPIC broke their contractual agreement with Apple, Apple can still refuse them future access if they want and chances are that they will given how much EPIC's action cost them.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Pyrrhic victory?

      It's not just Apple, who of course will not let Epic back in having needed a court ruling to get paid as agreed. Any other company contracting with Epic will, at the very least, think hard about the terms of business.

      But it's more classed as a pyhrric victory because Epic spent more pursuing this than they will ever gain as a result of the ruling.

      Epic have trashed their corporate reputation and run up huge legal costs to win a relatively small sum.

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Pyrrhic victory?

      The thing though is that it will only apply to the US. Any other countries are excluded from that ruling. So... good for US gamers, not so good for everyone else.

      But - it's baby steps.

  4. Robert Grant Silver badge

    a discount made profitable because of its avoidance of Apple's tax

    Mostly made profitable by the fact that it's digital art that that is incredibly easy to make. This is all just theatre to increase that even more.

  5. naive

    The core of the issue is....

    A small company selling 30 copies of an app in the Apple store for $10 each, pays $90 to Apple, and gets to keep $210. This is a very good proposition, since Apple makes the App available world wide for $90.

    A big game producer selling 3 million copies of its game from the Apple store for $10 each, pays $ 9,000,000 to Apple.

    Probably Apple will have a hard time proving that charging $ 9,000,000 for 3 million downloads of the game is a reasonable charge.

    Since Apple is a niche player in the mobile market, with around 10% market share, it is strange Epic bothered at all dealing with this arrogant company.

  6. Irongut

    A win for everyone except Epic

    This judgement is everything execpt a win for Epic.

    Apple get to say they are not a monopoly and don't have to allow other app stores.

    Devs get the opportunity to use other payment methods.

    Apple still get most of the cash because most devs won't bother with the hassle.

    Epic must pay Apple damages.

    Apple's deciesion to boot Epic from the store was lawful.

    Apple do not have to let Epic or Fortnite back on the store.

    Boom! Shot yourself in the foot there Epic. The schadenfreude kept me laughing all weekend.

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