Epic Games’ high-profile lawsuit against Apple opened Monday in a California court that will be the scene of three weeks of accusations of monopoly and greed of the other, a case that is likely to affect the entire tech economy. Popular platforms used by billions of people.
“We will prove, without ambiguity, that Apple has a monopoly,” said attorney Kathryn Forrest, an Epic attorney, in an opening speech followed by hundreds of people over the phone.
She described the App Store, the must-have app download store for iPhones and iPads, as a “walled garden.”
This metaphor refers to the ecosystems that tech giants have created and control over, where they can set the rules, favor their own products, and the rhythm of users and developers, who have no alternative if they want to reach this market.
“The most common flower in this indoor garden is the flycatcher,” asserted by Kathryn Forrest. The attorney added that without abusing dominance, “Epic will provide more innovation and better prices to consumers.”
Last summer, Epic Games threw a stone into the pond by offering their players to buy Fortnite virtual currency at a cheaper rate if they went directly through its payment system, rather than through Apple, which charges a 30% commission on these transactions.
Apple brand has removed the game immediately from the App Store. Apple device users, fans of this game, have not been able to access updates since then.
Epic Games filed a complaint against the California group for misuse of a dominant position.
The App Store is a “grocery store” and its billion customers
Apple n’exerce pas plus de monopole qu’une “épicerie”, a rétorqué l’avocate Karen Dunn pour Apple, en rappelant que les joueurs pouvaient trouver Fortnite ailleurs, y compris sur desoles ou la marinateurs fabriqués par des riva de la marque à the Apple.
“Apple didn’t build a safe ecosystem to keep people out, it did to invite developers,” she said. If Epic wins, that means, for consumers and developers, “less security, less privacy, less reliability, fewer options, and less quality.” She said all those things that are protected by antitrust laws.
According to Apple, the studio is acting out of greed.
Epic Games, like Spotify and other companies that rely on the App Store to reach a marketplace of at least 1 billion people worldwide, are accusing the tech giant of anti-competitive practices.
“It took a very long time to realize all the negative effects of Apple’s systems,” answered Tim Sweeney, Epic president and first witness at the trial, when asked about his decision to file a lawsuit after two years on the App Store. .
IPhone president Tim Cook will personally appear at court in Oakland, a town near San Francisco, where Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is trying the case.
The future of a mobile economy
Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, commented that “Epic will use its huge user base (about 350 million registered Fortnite players worldwide), which is unparalleled, to generate support via social networks.”
But he notes that Apple’s defense is well established and hasn’t failed in years.
“Wall Street sees this threat as a dog barking, but not biting. When Apple wins, it will strengthen the group’s grip on the app store and payments.”
With appeal and remedies, the battle could last for years. But it may also influence the current debate around competition law.
Several antitrust regulators in the United States are investigating Apple’s practices, as well as those of the Amazon e-commerce platform.
The European Union, which seized on a complaint from Spotify, estimated on Friday that the iPhone manufacturer had already “tarnished the competition” to topple its competitors, especially thanks to “very high” commissions including its own apps. exempt.
On Android, with Google’s system, which is largely dominant in smartphones, the store operates in a similar fashion, with one major difference: other download platforms are allowed.
The lawsuit “relates to a specific contractual arrangement.” […]. But the real question for me is: Do we really want an environment in which all applications must pass through the same portal, which is controlled by the hardware developer and the mobile OS? “Asks Eric Stallman, professor of law at the University of Berkeley.
“The future of mobile computing is at stake.”