Fortnite on an Android device.DADO RUVIC / Reuters
Epic Games, the creator of video games like the popular Fortnite, has been facing Apple in court since Monday to decide whether the conditions imposed by the manufacturer of iPhones in its App Store application store contravene antitrust laws.
In February, Epic filed another lawsuit against Apple before the European Commission, also for abuse of a dominant position for alleged use of "anti-competitive restrictions" in the ecosystem of iPhone terminals.
There are other court cases, in addition, in the United Kingdom and Australia.
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The case exploded last summer.
The game developer Epic Games, described as abusive the commission of 30% that Apple (but also Google) charges for the payments that users make while using the applications of the App Store and Google Play, as happened with
and began to carry carry out the payments on your account within your own application without going through the cash register of the block.
Apple immediately removed it from its platform, which led to the complaint from the video game company.
Analysts view a victory for Apple as more than likely, and this prospect is expected to make future antitrust cases more difficult for US regulators.
Epic, however, has already made some profit from the case.
As a result of his aggressive public relations campaign, he has succeeded in drawing Apple to the center of the global debate on the regulation of large technology companies.
"Everything seems to indicate that what Epic intends is to launch a much more transcendent offensive around the issue, taking advantage of a moment of weakness of big technology before public opinion and legislators," said Enrique Dans, professor, on his blog last summer. from IE.
Apple logo in New York.Kathy Willens / AP
“What is at stake is the future of mobile platforms.
Consumers have the right to install applications from sources of their choice and developers have the right to compete in a fair market, ”said Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.
Apple, for its part, argues that the App Store constitutes a “necessary and inseparable component” of the entire iOS experience and that without the app review process and the lack of control over which app users can download, the iPhone it would be a fundamentally different device.
And worse, and, according to Apple, a worse one.
Epic's arguments are based on the main antitrust cases against Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and American Express, according to Reuters. For example, in arguing that iPhones are a software market unto themselves, Epic relies in part on a 1992 US Supreme Court decision that rejected Kodak's efforts to force owners of its machines to use their devices. repair services.
“What is at stake is the future of mobile platforms. Consumers have the right to install applications from sources of their choice and developers have the right to compete in a fair market, ”said Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. Apple, for its part, argues that the App Store constitutes a "necessary and inseparable component" of the entire experience of its iOS operating system and that without the application review process and the lack of control over which application users can download , the iPhone would be a fundamentally different device. And, according to Apple, worse.
Experts see difficulties for Epic's argument to succeed that the 30% commission charged by Apple is too high, and that it could be 10 times lower if there were more competition and market forces prevailed. US courts have been reluctant to set specific rates, in large part because, unlike in Europe, the prevailing interpretation of US antitrust law does not view a dominant company charging high prices as anticompetitive in and of itself. . This argument is in line with the one used by Apple, which maintains that any dominant position it may have in mobile software is a consequence of the development of competitive products such as the iPhone or the App Store.
The European Union does not seem to share this opinion.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager believes that the App Store has become the inexcusable gateway to make purchases, access information pages or download music and movies.
This is not the only investigation by the commissioner about the company.
Vestager also has an open file on the conditions that Apple imposes on the distribution of electronic books and audio-books, and another one on the company's payment application (Apple Pay).
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