Apple’s docs attack the core of Epic’s antitrust argument

From 9to5Mac’s “Apple and Epic go head-to-head in fiery opening remarks of highly-anticipated trial” posted Monday:

apple epic dueling docs

Epic’s argument is that Apple touts its app review process as a key benefit of the App Store ecosystem when, in actuality, the process fails to catch hundreds of thousands of scam and phishing apps each year. The company specifically points a figure from 2017, when Apple said it removed more than 400,000 apps from the App Store…

At the heart of Epic’s argument is the 30% cut of transactions that Apple takes, but Apple said that this is standard industry practice and that Apple’s effective cut from the App Store has decreased over the years. Apple argued that if Epic prevails in this case, “other integrated ecosystems will fall too,” including Sony, Nintendo, Google, and Samsung.

My take: The two side’s opening slideshows tell the story more succinctly than the lawyers can. Thanks to 9to5Mac for downloading them.

  • Click here for Epic’s
  • Click here for Apple’s

7 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    Epic didn’t spend much time on the market definition, which is the cornerstone of the legal debate. If Apple prevails on the definition of the relevant market, Epic basically has no case for ‘monopoly’.

    The points about the App Store can be turned around by Apple, to show just how critical a curated store is. The fact that Apple hasn’t been fully successful is, I believe, fundamentally irrelevant to the -legal arguments-.

    Epic’s legal case looks pretty weak, frankly, particularly for a “bet the entire company” action.

    5
    May 4, 2021
  2. Fred Stein said:
    IMO, Epic has no valid legal case. Epic’s real venue is the court of public opinion.

    Apple can make the case of public safety in the latter venue. Most people glaze over when you get into numbers and legalities.

    3
    May 4, 2021
  3. Since the advent of computer games developers have faced threats from people that know OpenGL enough to bypass or enhance some game feature. Certain game players will adopt these unauthorized add-ons, some become champions or wealthy in game money. The game developers eventually find out, release updates and kick the miscreants off the platform. There have been lawsuits over this as well. Should Epic prevail not only their developers but many of the others would clearly be faced with new attacks from many angles.
    It appears their greed blinds them to their actual foes.
    Epic’s case rests on sand. If they prevail, all other game platforms, including Steam, would be subject to the court’s decision.
    (Thank you for consolidating and sharing those slideshows, Philip.)

    3
    May 4, 2021
  4. Greg Lippert said:
    Reading the arguments it seems like Epic is on shaky ground. But I am no lawyer.
    – Epic only has to pay commission on IAP’s if they are on the App Store.
    – The App Store market share is small.
    – Users can do IAP’s on multiple platforms and use funds cross platform thereby bypassing commission.
    – They could create an iOS web app.
    – Forcing Apple to open would have to force all walled gardens to open up.
    – The security implications are harmful to consumers and only beneficial to Epic.
    – There’s no guarantee that consumers would save money. Are they always going to charge 30% less or maybe they will try to keep that 30% for themselves….

    4
    May 4, 2021
  5. Ken Cheng said:
    I once took a Contract Law class, and one of the things I took away was that the judge wouldn’t decide whether a contract was a good deal. This argument about whether Apple should or shouldn’t be making 30% sounds like they’re arguing about whether the contract they signed was a good deal.

    The whole game console being sold at cost, vs Apple making a profit argument also sounds like a non-starter, since they’d then have to subpoena the financial details of every game console maker to prove that they sell at cost. Is it Apple’s fault that they have good margins because they create economies of scale?

    6
    May 4, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I don’t understand the legal relevance of how much or how little profit any 3rd party makes on selling its hardware to the Epic v Apple fight. That might have some currency in ‘the court of public opinion’, but particularly in a bench trial, I’d expect the judge to give that argument no credit. (But IANAL, so if I got that wrong, please let me know.)

      1
      May 4, 2021
    • THOMAS E FARRIS JR said:
      KenKenKen! Don’t you know…You make too much sense (as do many others here) and seem to have forgotten that many if not most of the younger generation only understand a few simple things…1) I want it all, 2) I want it now, and 3) I want it free. As I’m old and started my spreadsheet learning on VisiCalc, I was exited to spend only $2,500 on a Mac+ and accessories that my buddy had paid about $5K for. And it served me well for the time. And so today it is irksome to say the least when reading about all these people moaning about paying an extra 100, 50 or even $20 for more storage or whatever. For them, Of course it is Apples fault that they don’t just give away everything, and do it today, after all how much money does anyone need? Forget technical progress…the company should be a Non-Profit for the benefit of everyone! Or if not everyone, then at least themselves and their friends. Argh!

      1
      May 5, 2021

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