- James Clayton
- BBC North America technical correspondent
After months of threats, Epic Games is going to court in front of Apple.
The trial starts on Monday which is One of the most important in the history ofApple Inc.. The president of the company himself, Tim Cook, Will testify, as it is the first time that he has appeared in court.
What is at stake The future of the App Store and what developers charge, A very lucrative source of income for the company founded by Steve Jobs.
In August of last year, Epic Games set a trap for Apple.
His game is successful It is an electronic game Implement Your payment system In-app, which avoided Apple’s 30% fee.
Apple’s Response: Immediately kicked Epic Games from the App Store.
But this is exactly what Epic Games has been waiting for. Apple resisted a widespread lawsuit.
Epic Games has claimed for years that Apple’s fees are prohibitive. Their argument is simple: Apple’s control of the App Store conflicts with competition.
It is considered that developers have the right to create smartphone applications without having to pay large sums to Apple (and Also on googleFor your store Google apps).
Spotify, Match, and Tile are just a few of the many companies that have also indicated that Apple’s fees are unfair.
it is expected that Apple has made hundreds of millions of dollars Only with Fortnite payments.
The big argument with Epic Games is that if they didn’t pay, where would they sell their products?
Both the App Store and Google Play are the dominant global app stores outside of China.
Epic Games has attempted to sell Fortnite outside of these two stores. I opened up the option to download it on Android phones, to try to avoid the 30% charge from Google. However, few people have done this outside of Google Play.
Epic Games’ conclusion was: If you want to create games for smartphones, it has to be in the App Store or Google Play.
Instead of kneeling down and accepting charges related to what they call an “Apple tax”, Epic Games decided to sue the company.
What worries Tim Cook is that Many of the App Store critics come from the policy.
At a US Senate hearing two weeks ago, lawmakers questioned Apple CEO Kyle Ander. Politicians of all colors – often divided – joined in his attacks on Apple.
The Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal, LLC Republicans Mike Lee and Josh Hawley took the same lines in their interrogation.
Senator Klobuchar said that the Apple App Store was, too Literally monopoly.
Last Friday, the European Union announced that it would impose a penalty on Apple for app store behavior.
Epic Games chose the right time for the lawsuit.
The main question that the judge will have to answer If the App Store is a “basic install”A kind of public service that no company should control.
Matt Stoller, an antitrust activist, thinks so.
“Everyone knows Apple is responsible for what should be public rights of the road. It would be easier if a judge ruled in Epic’s favor. [Games]That would fix it. “
However, Apple is in a position to hire good lawyers. So what’s your defense?
First of all, Apple says it invented the App Store and As a private company, you can ship whatever you want.
It also says 30% charges developers fees It is the industry standard for gaming And it competes not only with Google Play, but also with Microsoft, Steam, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo.
Without a base?
Influential technology blogger John Gruber says Apple is right.
“ The Royal Regiment 70/30 It’s very normal across the board. One of the things that really stands out about the Epic Games indictment is that it does not file any complaints. All this is not substantial, a largely propaganda plot, and not legal. “
Apple also says its payment system is fair to smaller developers. It says 83% of apps and 76% of games on the App Store are free; The developers do not pay a commission.
They say that although the maximum fee is 30%, most developers only pay 15% in fees.
Apple argues that it also spends on app store security, ensuring that Apple’s ecosystem is not compromised by untrusted apps. This costs money.
However, the amount that Apple spends on this process is known to be a small fraction of what it receives from developers. Critics like Matt Stoller, too They question how effective Apple’s investigation procedures are.
“There are all kinds of apps that contain scams and that Apple doesn’t detect them. So their arguments about security and protection are nonsense,” he considers.
‘The danger is great’
So what are Apple’s chances?
John Gruber thinks it’s good: “I think, for legal reasons, Apple is doing very well. But The risk is very high Because [si perdieran], That would cut off The entire business model From the App Store.
Matt Stoller says Antitrust situations are difficult to predict.
“The US antitrust law is a total mess. So we have no idea. The law depends mainly on what a judge offers for breakfast.”
The trial is expected to end in the last week of May.
Even if Apple wins, however, controversy will continue over how it manages its App Store.
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