News business Apple vs Epic: Stakes and echoes of an extraordinary trial
After months of waiting, the trial between Apple and Epic finally opens. The stakes are high. If Tim Sweeney’s firm wins, it could shake up the famous 30% commission applied by the iPhone manufacturer on its store, or even impose its own store on iOS. A breach that would also open the way for many tech companies. We explain the stakes of this case to you.
For this May 4, dedicated to the power of the Force on the planet Star Wars, two giants clash in a battle as explosive as Star Wars. Yesterday, the lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games finally opened. The firm, at the origin of the battle royale Fortnite, denounces a too high “tyrannical tax” of the company to the apple, which fills his pockets copiously through his online store, the App Store. More clearly, Epic condemns the 30% commission – reduced to 15% for companies that generate less than a million dollars per year – collected by Apple for the slightest application sale or “in app” purchases (directly integrated into software) on its store. For its part, Google applies identical rules on Android. Epic and the firm with the famous search engine will also be the subject of a second lawsuit, for the same reasons as those invoked today, against the iPhone manufacturer.
The trial barely opens, but it’s been months that Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, publicly points the finger at the policy of the brand to the apple. In June, the man evokes the “absolute monopoly” Apple with respect to its own store. On the App Store, the company is both “Judge and party” abstract CNews : “It sets the rules, takes commissions on transactions, and at the same time offers its own applications”. An almighty status often denounced. Until recently, the European Union accused Apple’s anti-competitive practices following a complaint filed by Spotify. At the same time, Tim Sweeney founded a coalition that advocates for more equity in stores like the App Store and the Play Store. Other tech companies have joined him. For them, the sales platforms on iOS and Android represent an important issue: today there would be 1 billion iPhone users around the world.
In this long-term fight, Epic appears as a sort of Trojan horse, doubled as a white knight: the firm seems ready to do anything to fight the GAFAM policy, even if it means playing big. Last July, Epic Games rolled out an update for the Android and iOS version of Fortnite, with the aim of head-on bypassing the 30% commission imposed by Google and Apple. At the slightest purchase (skins, virtual currency), players were redirected to the Epic site, even benefiting from a 20% reduction.
From there, everything accelerates. Apple is removing Fortnite from the App Store (players who have already downloaded it then still have access to it), and Epic files a complaint the same day. Google is following suit, although the title remains available on Android via browser. Then, in a very symbolic gesture, the firm Tim Sweeney draws a parody of a famous advertisement of the firm with the apple, 1984. The video ends with an unequivocal message: “Epic Games defied the App Store monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite’s access to one billion devices. Join the fight to prevent 2020 from becoming 1984 (in reference to the dystopian novel by Georges Orwell, editor’s note) ”. As a final point, a hashtag: #FreeFortnite.
1984 – Epic Games parodies famous Apple commercial
A hashtag that encouraged many players to express themselves last year, and which resonated in the very grounds of the court where the trial between Apple and Epic is taking place. It is indeed possible to attend the case via a public line, but due to a small technical error, the microphone of 200 spectators remained open for twenty minutes, as claimed. The Verge. Enough time to let escape “Free Fornite”, “bring the game back to mobile please” or the voice of Travis Scott, artist who held an impressive concert in the game, last April. A particular kick-off for a trial that is just as important, where Apple CEO Tim Cook will directly testify in the coming weeks.
Tim Sweeney, meanwhile, has already spoken in connection with the case. As reported by New York Times, the CEO, among other things, recalled that his legal action aims to show “The consequences of Apple’s policy”. A policy that the lawyer of Epic Games, Katherine Forrest, immediately described as a “walled garden”. According to her, iOS consumers and developers are trapped from within, forced to use the payment system of the firm of Tim Cook. The lawyer is based on a series of emails exchanged between various Apple executives. For its part, the defense of Apple – known as particularly formidable – affirms that the 30% commission is consistent with industry standards (especially on the Google Play Store). According to the company, the money helps keep the App Store running smoothly as well as user safety.
End of season
The trial obviously promises other strong moments, and the first documents resulting from it are already circulating on the web. We now know the astronomical sums that Epic is willing to spend to offer games to its users, or how many billions Fortnite generated between 2018 and 2019. But it is the outcome of the case that is most anticipated. As the reminder New York Times, If Tim Sweeney’s Firm Wins, It Will Shift A $ 100 Billion App Economy, preventing millions of companies and developers from donating 30% of their sales to Apple. Conversely, if the company with the apple is the winner, its monopoly status will be strengthened. The trial is expected to last three weeks. We should have an answer by then.
Through Indee, Journalist Aroged.com