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Apple and the Fortnite publisher are ready for an epic showdown

Apple and the Fortnite publisher are ready for an epic showdown

The video game giant against the smartphone giant: After months of attacks and accusations, Epic Games and Apple will settle their accounts starting Monday in the California court, where the game publisher is. It is an electronic game It hopes to reverse the status quo of the mobile economy.

According to Epic Games, Apple is abusing its monopoly for iPhone and iPad users, thanks to the App Store, the primary platform for downloading mobile applications.

Currently, Apple is a judge and jury, as it sets the rules for entering this market for at least a billion people, commissions for transactions, while also offering its own apps.

The Apple brand has “built an ecosystem to restrict app distribution, exclude competitors, and harm competition and consumers,” as Epic Games outlined in documents filed in court in early April.

Epic wants to ditch Apple as the bad guy in order to revive interest in it It is an electronic game, Which is on the decline, “for their part, the Silicon Valley Group’s oldest lawyers.

Enemy leaders Tim Cook and Tim Sweeney are set to testify in person at the trial in Oakland, adjacent to San Francisco, which will be watched closely – but online – by the entire industry, and beyond. .

“It’s not just about whether Epic Games or Apple is making a few million extra dollars,” said Tejas Narcania, a law professor at Berkeley University.

He explains that the experiment “will focus on the future of the technology industry.” “How far can companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google control the value chain from production to distribution? Should they be more open? How many competitors are needed?”

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Epic is not alone in this crusade. In the fall, it allied with dozens of companies, including the music streaming services Deezer and Spotify, under the banner of Coalition for App Fairness.

Several antitrust regulators in the United States are investigating Apple’s practices.

On Friday, the European Union, which seized on a complaint from Spotify, estimated that the iPhone manufacturer had “tarnished the competition” to topple its competitors, particularly thanks to “very high” commissions, including its de facto apps exempt.

The “apple tax,” as its critics call it, crystallizes tensions.

The group charges a commission ranging from 15 to 30% on app sales in the app store and on purchases of digital goods and services within these apps.

“They are fighting over who gets money from Epic games,” says independent analyst Rob Enderle. “I think Apple is wrong when you think about what’s good for the industry: You have to finance innovation, not distribution.”

Last August, Epic Games saw its popular shooter It is an electronic game Kick them out from the store for trying to bypass the iOS payment system. Then the studio took legal action against Apple and its “authoritarian” taxes.

Judge Yvonne Rogers agreed to withdraw the app for breach of contract, but prevented Apple from excluding the publisher from third-party developer programs.

The tech group has argued for years that its commission, at a record level, is used to ensure the proper performance and security of the platform.

“During two years when It is an electronic game It was available on the App Store, and Epic earned more than $ 700 million thanks to Apple customers, ”attorneys for the group noted.

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On Android (Google’s system, which is largely dominant in smartphones), the store works similarly, with one major difference: other download platforms are allowed.

“Apple has the right to protect its users and the confidentiality of their data. But if they have confidence in their system, they should not be afraid of competition from an alternate store,” comments Tejas Narcania.

Epic will have to prove that Apple’s practices are harmful to users. So it will be reported that some publishers, like him, are raising their prices on iPhone to compensate for the commission.

It would also attempt to deconstruct the security argument, citing former employees of the group who asserted that the App Store’s anti-fraud systems were not sufficient.

The trial is scheduled to last three weeks. With appeals and remedies, the case could go on for years, but the arguments of both groups will affect the economics of mobile apps long before the winner is devoted.