The last two days of Apple’s antitrust trial against Epic Games didn’t go the way Apple had hoped, according to The Information.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogersvoiced concerns about Apple’s App Store levying a 30% tax on digital purchases made in apps. She also said Apple’s practice of forbidding app developers to tell customers they can buy digital goods through a web browser for a cheaper price than what they pay in the apps “seems to be anticompetitive.”
In The Information’s analyst of the concluding days of the trial, it says that Apple’s decision to put CEO Tim Cook on the stand on Friday backfired when he claimed under oath to not know basic details of his own business.
Here’s the publication’s thoughts on the matter: Despite Apple’s strong start and legal advantages going into the trial, which ended on Monday, Gonzalez Rogers in recent days appeared intent on imposing at least some changes to Apple’s business that would favor app developers and aid government antitrust enforcers, who are separately investigating App Store practices. The main challenge she faces is that any such ruling would require her to find that Apple broke the law by using monopoly power to harm its competition. During the closing moments of the trial, she hinted about a path she could take to make a ruling that would only help Epic and other mobile game developers. Such a ruling would be limited in scope but still could have an impact on Apple’s profits.
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The three-week trial wrapped up on May 24, but a ruling may be weeks away. As noted by Protocol: …. with thousands of pages of court documents, roughly 4,500 pages of court testimony, and the fate of some of the largest, most lucrative technology products in her hands, Gonzalez Rogers has her work cut out for her. Whatever she decides will almost certainly result in an appeal, but the fate of both Fortnite and the future of the iOS platform now rests in her hands.
This is all part of an ongoing global legal battle between Apple and Epic. On Aug. 13,2020, Epic Games announced that it had introduced a new direct payment option in the Fortnite app for iPhone and iPad, allowing players to purchase 1000 V-Bucks for US$7.99 rather than $9.99 through Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism. Shortly thereafter, Apple removed the gamer from the App Store for violating store polices and followed up by shutting down the company’s developer account.
Epic immediately filed a lawsuit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In September 2020 Apple filed a countersuit to stop the game maker from using its own payment system for Fortnite. Apple also accused Epic of theft and sought extra monetary damages beyond breach of contract.