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Epic v. Apple Will Potentially Rewrite Antitrust Law

Portland, Oregon, USA - Oct 1, 2019: A man strides past an Apple Store in downtown Portland. The big screen inside is seen advertising Apple's fastest A13 Bionic chips in the new iPhone series.

May 3, 2021

According to an article in Wired, “the livelihood of thousands of app developers and the very definition of antitrust law” is at stake when Silicon Valley’s highest-profile court case in a decade begins this week. Epic sued Apple last August and tried to avoid Apple’s 30 percent commission by using a software update that bypassed the App Store payments system. Apple countersued, and removed Epic’s popular “Fortnite” game from its App Store, thus preventing iPhone users from playing. Some investment advisers believe Apple has the stronger case because of the huge audience it provides while still giving Epic the biggest share of profit. Epic chose to sell on Apple’s site, one observed. The App Store houses 1.8 million apps for more than 1.5 billion iPhone owners. Apple Services, in which the App Store is the major profit-driver, had $15.76 billion revenue in the last quarter of 2020, up from $12.72 billion a year earlier. Apple will try to prove Epic plotted to disrupt the App Store to maximize profits. Epic will claim it was forced to sue after years of unsuccessful negotiations attempting to end what it (and others) call Apple’s use of its platform to unfairly limit competition. Apple CEO Tim Cook, and software head Craig Federighi are scheduled to testify. According to one market analyst, Apple is monopolistic because it locks in consumers with the sign-in feature. “It’s like the last line of the song ‘Hotel California,’ ” he says. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.’”

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