17 August 2020

The New York Times: “Fortnite Creator sues Apple and Google after Ban from App Stores”

In Epic, Apple has met arguably its toughest adversary in years. The game maker has calculated exactly how to hit Apple where it hurts: by making iPhones less attractive and Apple less cool.

For Apple, the world’s most valuable company, there are few easy options. Apple has largely staked its future on its services business, which has become its second-largest source of revenue after sales of the iPhone, at $51.7 billion over the past year. But that business is mostly built on its cut of other apps’ sales, so enforcing its 30 percent commission is crucial to keeping its business growing.

As a result, backing down to Epic would set a dangerous precedent for Apple, while standing up to the gaming company would prolong a fight that risks shrinking its iPhone sales and damaging its carefully crafted image.

Suing Apple, in particular, serves two goals for Epic: winning in legal court and winning in the court of public opinion, said Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor of antitrust at Vanderbilt Law School. Epic is more likely to succeed in the latter, she said. There is growing business pressure against Apple, she said, noting an antitrust case would be more complicated and difficult to win.

Jack Nicas, Kellen Browning & Erin Griffith

Note to Slack: this is how you start an antitrust fight! The move was clearly carefully planned, from offering direct payments on iOS and Android to the response to the inevitable ban: a lawsuit coupled with a media campaign against Apple. As someone will little stakes in either side, it will be entertaining to watch this fight between Apple and the gaming industry – and to see who reaches a conclusion first: the US Congress or the judicial system.

Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Visit https://fn.gg/freefortnite and join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming "1984"

At the most basic level, we’re fighting for the freedom of people who bought smartphones to install apps from sources of their choosing, the freedom for creators of apps to distribute them as they choose, and the freedom of both groups to do business directly, Sweeney tweeted. The primary opposing argument is: Smartphone markers can do whatever they want. This as an awful notion. We all have rights, and we need to fight to defend our rights against whoever would deny them. Even if that means fighting a beloved company like Apple.

Tim Sweeney

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