Epic Left a Lots of Crack in Apple’s Walled Garden

“I don’t know how you weighed all the analysis, and all the uncompetitive arguments that Apple made for the closed ecosystem, that the judge then said,‘ But I’ll force Apple to allow competitors to put a signpost on Apple’s ecosystem, ‘”said Paul Swanson, a Denver -based antitrust attorney.” I don’t see how the two things go together. “

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney may agree. In a terrifying tweet on Friday, Sweeney said, “Judging now is not a victory for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition between in-app and in-app payment methods. store for a billion consumers. ”The Ship reports that Epic plans to appeal the verdict. (Epic Games did not respond to a request for comment.) Fortnite will no longer return to iOS until “Epic can provide in-app payments in fair competition to Apple in-app payments, passing savings on to consumers,” Sweeney tweeted.

The games industry and antitrust experts say the ruling has had an impact, but not surprisingly. “It’s a fierce battle for Epic to win the case,” said Florian Ederer, associate professor of economics at the Yale School of Management. At the same time, he said, the ruling was framed by a growing international scrutiny of Apple’s anti-steering provisions. In August, South Korean regulators approve a bill forcing Apple and Google, a defendant in another case led by Epiko, to allow payment systems other than theirs. Days later, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission closed investigation of it in Apple’s App Store, it was determined that Apple should allow so-called reader apps-which include the likes of Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Kindle-encouraging users to sign up, and possibly pay, through their own websites in companies. Rogers ’ruling could have a much bigger financial impact, though, because, in his said opinion, the majority of App Store payments come from gaming apps.

Within 90 days, App Store developers can avoid a 30 percent commission by adding in-app buttons or links to their own websites with their own payment systems. “Developers can’t get all That – they can’t completely reject that 30 percent, ”Ederer said. “But that’s a big win for developers.” He considers that any extra extra money can serve as an incentive for the developer to help ship more products or make them study longer, even if some users choose to go the quicker route. and go through Apple’s in-app payment system.

Multiple payment systems can create confusion, Apple’s stated enemy of streamline-obsessed business. “In the long run, without a single platform, there are a lot of different payment providers trying to get your business,” said Joost van Dreunen, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and author of Usa Up, a book on the business of the games world. “They’re all fighting on the margin. There are more and more transactors and payment processors trying to get a piece.” Users can be confused by the use of “click and go” or “swipe here, completed “systems. And with new payment processing systems, users can feel there is less transparency and confidence in an old-fashioned, complex digital marketplace.

While Epic Games has won a major ground battle, Apple may have won its morale: Apple will claim that users aren’t as trapped in its iOS ecosystem as they are. “Now the Court has confirmed what we knew before: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement. “Apple faces stiff competition in every area in which we do business, and we believe we are chosen by customers and developers because our products and services are the best in the world.”

Judging is yet another crack in Apple’s garden wall. “It’s starting to show some wear,” van Dreunen said. “It’s not the clean, immovable organization it’s supposed to be.” And if the verdict is indeed appealed now, its fight is not over yet.

Further reporting by Gilad Edelman.

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