Ahead of the upcoming bench lawsuit against Epic Games, Apple today filed 500 pages of documents covering facts and conclusions about the law, which basically summarizes the information exchanged between Apple and Epic, presents relevant facts to the judge and argues for logical conclusions. which should be withdrawn when law is applied in the case.
Apple sticks to many of the talking points it has claimed since the beginning of its dispute with Epic Games. The App Store has been unchanged in terms of the overall fee structure since its first debut in 2008, and while the policies have been updated, the development principles have been the same.
Apple sees Epic’s challenge as an attack on the basic App Store business model of 13 years. Apple maintains that the strict app review guidelines provide consumers with security, privacy and reliability, something the devices are also known for, leading to significant benefits for end users and developers.
The 30 percent fee charged by Apple is in line with the fees charged by other app markets and software vendors, as shown in a study commissioned by Apple earlier this year, and Apple recently introduced the Small Business program to reduce the fees to 15 percent for Developers earn less than $ 1 million annually. Apple entered a market where 30 percent commission was already accepted – it did not set the speed when App Store was launched.
In response to allegations that App Store is restrictive of competition because alternative app stores are not allowed on the iPhone, Apple points to competition in the market for devices and gaming transactions. There are other platforms that people can choose from, along with other game options, and web apps are supported on iPhone and iPad as game options that Microsoft and Google have already used. Apple uses Epic’s main title, Fortnite, to illustrate the point.
Epic’s flagship game, Fortnite, illustrates the competitive landscape. Apple supports “cross-platform-play” transactions and platform transactions. The same consumer can buy V-Bucks in the app on iPhone (via the browser) during a lunch break, and on a console at home in the evening. Apple allows (unlike some of its competitors) “cross-wallet” gaming, so in-game purchases – called V-Bucks in Fortnite – can be made on one device and used on another. In other words, an iOS user can buy V-Bucks on a PC and then (before Fortnite’s removal) use them in Fortnite on their iPhone or iPad – with Epic not even giving a dime to Apple.
Epic internal documents related to “Project Liberty” suggest that Epic has been planning against Apple and Google since 2008. Epic started Project Liberty when it saw a decline in average monthly active users and revenue, and developed a strategy to pay less commission while still took advantage of the benefits of the App Store and the money Apple has invested in the ecosystem.
Epic Games hired lawyers and a public relations firm as part of a plan to sue Apple and eventually shoot out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Epic outlined the plan to get Fortnite approved with hidden alternative payment options, which were then activated by a quick fix, which led to the current dispute. Epic internal documents described the legal battle against Apple and Google as “funny!” and thought about how to get Apple and Google to revise their fees without pEpic Games looking like “the bad guys.”
This was all part of a pre-planned media strategy called “Project Liberty.” Epic retained Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and a PR company in 2019, and this lawsuit is the culmination of that effort. Epic seeks to portray Apple as the bad guy so that it can revive flagging interest in Fortnite. Still, ironically, when Epic was kicked off the iOS platform, it told players they could continue playing on consoles, PCs and other devices – demonstrating the existence of competition and the absence of a monopoly.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, has confirmed to Project Liberty in previous interviews that Epic has spent months preparing the lawsuit against Apple, although Apple’s lawsuits provide new insights into the lengths Epic went to tow Apple and Google. . into an antitrust lawsuit.
Apple claims that an extension of the antitrust law is unjustified, and that Epic’s descriptions of the product market are inaccurate due to the other platforms the App Store competes with. Apple claims that Epic overestimates App Store’s profitability, and that the arguments that the review process is ineffective are inaccurate. Last year, Apple rejected 150,000 apps, and malware on iOS devices is almost unheard of compared to the high number of malicious apps found on PCs and Android devices.
Apple says that Epic’s claim that the market is only iOS apps will fail, and that the relief that Epic seeks would be detrimental to consumers and developers, as it would weaken the App Store. Apple also sees the App Store as an integrated feature of the iPhone and in-app purchases as an integrated feature of the App Store that does not allow third-party payment options, which is what Epic aims for.
At the bottom, Epic is asking this court to force Apple’s alternative terms so that Epic can make more money. But Epic’s request would harm other developers and consumers, in addition to imposing on Apple unique obligations to open its proprietary systems and engineering to third parties.
The epic trial against Apple will begin on May 3, and it will end the week on May 24. Both Epic and Apple will call high-profile witnesses, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, Apple chief engineer Craig Federighi, and former iOS software chief Scott Forstall, who will testify on behalf of Apple.