Apple v. Epic: The filings have landed

Florian Mueller has the docs: 688 pages in total.

From 9to5Mac’s “Epic v. Apple discovery details ‘Project Liberty’ scheme to skirt App Store with Fortnite” posted Thursday:

According to Apple, Epic Games has hired PR firms in 2019 to work on a media strategy called “Project Liberty” aimed at portraying Apple “as the bad guy.” In October 2020, Judge Yvonne Rogers had concerns that Epic knew exactly what they were doing with the controversial Fortnite update, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.

In its defense, the Cupertino-based company says that the App Store, iOS, and all of its software are intellectual properties, and it has no obligation to license such properties to third parties.

Epic’s monopoly maintenance claim is premised on the notion that the antitrust laws preclude Apple from imposing conditions on the licensed use of its intellectual property, and impose on Apple a duty to deal with Epic on the terms preferred by Epic—to the detriment of other developers and consumers alike. But Apple has no obligation to license its intellectual property, and aside from a limited exception not applicable here, businesses are free to choose the parties with whom they will deal, as well as the prices, terms and conditions of that dealing.

Apple also appeals that Epic Games earned more than $700 million in revenue from iOS consumers with Fortnite when the game was available on the App Store, and that the company also pays commissions to other platforms on which Fortnite is distributed.

Finally, Apple believes that the 30% commission it charges developers — which is now only 15% for those making less than $1 million a year — is a fair deal since this money is used to maintain the App Store. This includes reviewing all apps to ensure the security and privacy of iOS devices. For Apple, developers who disagree with App Store guidelines are free to offer web apps, which don’t have to be approved by the company.

My take: Apple will prevail, but in this case it’s punching down, which makes it look like the bad guy.

4 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    According to TechCrunch, Sept, 2020, Tencent owns 40% of Epic. More importantly they own a lot of other gaming properties.

    Extending the gaming metaphor, Epic may be just an in-app weapon that they bought in their war for world domination. For Tencent, the revenue lost by Epic on iPhone, flows to other gaming venues.

    4
    April 9, 2021
  2. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Oh PED…”punching down”? Really?

    Prefer “punching back” — as in defense. Epic pulled the pin on THIS hand grenade.

    3
    April 9, 2021

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