Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,698
16,884


Ahead of its upcoming bench trial against Epic Games, Apple today filed 500 pages of documents covering findings of fact and conclusions of law, which basically summarizes the information exchanged between Apple and Epic, presents the relevant facts to the judge, and argues for the logical conclusions that should be drawn when law is applied to the case.

fortnite-apple-logo-2.5.jpg

Apple sticks to many of the talking points that it has argued since the beginning of its dispute with Epic Games. The App Store has remained unchanged in terms of general fee structure since it first debuted in 2008, and while policies have been updated, the development principles have remained the same.

Apple sees Epic's challenge as an attack on its fundamental App Store business model of 13 years. Apple maintains that its rigorous review guidelines for apps provide consumers with security, privacy, and reliability, something that its devices are also known for, leading to significant benefits for end users and developers.

The 30 percent fee that Apple charges is in line with the fees charged by other app marketplaces and software providers as demonstrated in a study that Apple had commissioned earlier this year, and Apple recently introduced the Small Business Program to drop fees to 15 percent for developers making under $1 million annually. Apple entered a market where 30 percent commissions were already accepted -- it did not set that rate when the App Store launched.

In response to claims that the App Store is anticompetitive because there are no alternate app stores allowed on the iPhone, Apple points to competition in the device and game transaction markets. There are other platforms that people can choose, along with other gaming options, and web apps are supported on iPhone and iPad as gaming alternatives that Microsoft and Google have already taken advantage of. Apple uses Epic's main title, Fortnite, to illustrate its point.
Epic's flagship game, Fortnite, illustrates the competitive landscape. Apple supports "cross-plat- form" play and cross-platform transactions. The same consumer can make in-app purchases of V-Bucks on her iPhone (through the browser) during a lunch break, and on a console at home in the evening. Apple (unlike some of its competitors) allows "cross-wallet" play, so that in-game purchases--called V-Bucks in Fortnite--can be made on one device and used on another. In other words, an iOS user can purchase V-Bucks on a PC and then (prior to Fortnite's removal) use them in Fortnite on their iPhone or iPad--with Epic owing not even a penny's commission to Apple.
Epic internal documents related to "Project Liberty" suggest that Epic has been plotting against Apple and Google since 2018. Epic began Project Liberty when it saw a decline in its average monthly active users and revenue, devising a strategy to pay less commission while still taking advantage of the benefits of the App Store and the money that Apple has invested into the ecosystem.

Epic Games hired lawyers and a PR firm as part of its plan to launch a lawsuit against Apple, ultimately shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Epic outlined its plan to get Fortnite approved with hidden alternate payment options, which was then activated by a hotfix, leading to the current dispute. Epic internal documents described the legal battle against Apple and Google as "fun!" and contemplated how to get Apple and Google to reconsider their fees without Epic Games looking like "the baddies."

This was all part of a pre-planned media strategy called "Project Liberty." Epic retained Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and a public relations firm in 2019, and this lawsuit is the culmination of that effort. Epic seeks to portray Apple as the bad guy so that it can revive flagging interest in Fortnite. Yet, ironically, when Epic got kicked off the iOS platform, it told players that they could continue playing on consoles, PCs, and other devices--demonstrating the existence of competition and the absence of monopoly.

Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, has confirmed Project Liberty in prior interviews and has said that Epic spent months preparing the lawsuit against Apple, though Apple's court filings provide new insight into the lengths that Epic went to in order to rope Apple and Google into an antitrust lawsuit.

Apple argues that an expansion of antitrust law is unwarranted and that Epic's product market descriptions are inaccurate because of the other platforms the App Store is competing with. Apple claims that Epic overstates the App Store's profitability, and that arguments that the review process is ineffective are inaccurate. Last year, Apple rejected 150,000 apps, and malware on iOS devices is almost unheard of compared to the high number of malicious apps found on PCs and Android devices.

Apple says that Epic's claim that the market is only iOS apps will fail, and that the relief that Epic seeks would be harmful for consumers and developers as it would weaken the App Store. Apple also sees the App Store as an integrated feature of the iPhone and in-app purchase as an integrated feature of the App Store that does not allow for third-party payment options, which is what Epic is aiming for.
At bottom, Epic is asking this Court to force alternative terms on Apple so that Epic can make more money. But Epic's request would harm other developers and consumers, in addition to imposing unprecedented obligations on Apple to open its proprietary systems and engineering to third parties.
The Epic v. Apple bench trial is set to start on May 3, and it will conclude the week of May 24. Both Epic and Apple will call high-profile witnesses, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, Apple engineering chief Craig Federighi, and former iOS software chief Scott Forstall, who will be testifying on behalf of Apple.



Article Link: Epic Games Began Planning Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple Two Years Ago With 'Project Liberty'
 
Last edited:

Seoras

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2007
662
1,569
Scotsman in New Zealand
Tim Sweeney must know something that we don't. It looks like a clear cut case for Apple winning but you don't fight a war unless you think you can win it. I'm sure Sun Tzu said something like that in The Art of War.
Perhaps Apple throwing the towel in with Qualcomm was his inspiration, but then Qualcomm had Intel's ineptitude to help them.
 

simaka

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2014
5
0
Wait, so Epic's decision when their revenue is declining is to hire lawyers and PR firms to bite Apple and Google? And they literally planned to break the ToS through a hot fix?

Do people still want to side with Epic?
Epic clearly planned this, but I wouldn't trust Apple's narrative here. The App store is still the only way to get apps on iOS and the "small business program" happened after the lawsuit from EPIC was filed, so one could argue it wouldn't have materialized otherwise.
Also, a game losing players with the progress of time and a corporation trying to maximize profit...? Nothing new here. I agree with Epic, that they happen to have the money to fight this fight with Apple, but at no point did I believe them that they are fighting "on behalf the little guy".
 

Salvor Hardin

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2013
231
209
Wouldn’t be surprised if they had something like this planned out for Steam going back even further than 2008, if that comes to light it’s hard to see how the gaming industry won’t see them as a liability but I guess Epic would just use their Unreal Engine as leverage to protect themselves considering how critical its become to game development.
 

m4mario

macrumors 6502
May 10, 2017
397
1,025
San Francisco Bay Area
The App store is still the only way to get apps on iOS
Thats not true. You can absolutely use HTML 5, Javascript and all the web technologies and develop a web app. Any user can add an app like that to Home Screen and use it like a regular app. HTML 5 is completely open and based on common standards. If HTML 5 standards specify Camera access, then iOS provides it.

What you cant do is use Apple in-house built technologies like Xcode, Swift, Apple's iOS API's and other Apple developed technologies for free and develop an app and distribute it without paying Apple a cut. That I think is fair. Sure Apple's technologies is far superior to HTML 5(which is an industry standard), that's what Apple worked hard for. Asking for these technologies without paying Apple anything is unfair.
 
Last edited:

Krizoitz

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2003
1,586
1,560
Tokyo, Japan
Tim Sweeney must know something that we don't. It looks like a clear cut case for Apple winning but you don't fight a war unless you think you can win it. I'm sure Sun Tzu said something like that in The Art of War.
Perhaps Apple throwing the towel in with Qualcomm was his inspiration, but then Qualcomm had Intel's ineptitude to help them.
LOTS of people fight wars without knowing they can’t win, many of whom should know they will likely lose. See for example the former Presidents string of loses in lawsuits related to the election.
That this is tied to a loss in users (and therefore revenue) for Epic points to a desperation move rather than a well thought out one, but only time will tell I suppose.
I think (and hope) Apple will prevail based on the legal merits but the courts don’t always rule how they probably should, particularly on complicated tech cases, so there’s always a chance.
 

Krizoitz

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2003
1,586
1,560
Tokyo, Japan
The App store is still the only way to get apps on iOS
And? There’s nothing unprecedented or illegal about that. iOS isn’t a market, smartphones and devices are. The only way to get digital games on the Xbox is through Microsoft’s store. The only way to get them on PlayStation is through Sony’s store. Want to sell your game for Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony’s platform? You have to get their approval and follow their rules. Since none of them have a monopoly the consumer can choose which platform or platforms they want to engage with. Same with smartphones. Apple offers one approach, Google a different one. Consumers can choose which one they like. If you don’t like Apple walled garden model it’s really really easy to not buy an iPhone.
 

Anson_431

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2016
218
538
Wait, so Epic's decision when their revenue is declining is to hire lawyers and PR firms to bite Apple and Google? And they literally planned to break the ToS through a hot fix?

Do people still want to side with Epic?
I actually wonder how the court would perceive this deliberately planned and executed breach of contract when Epic is trying to play the victim here.

It wasn’t even 2 months. It’s TWO YEARS for crying out loud………
 

Glideslope

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2007
7,073
4,355
The Adirondacks.
Tim Sweeney must know something that we don't. It looks like a clear cut case for Apple winning but you don't fight a war unless you think you can win it. I'm sure Sun Tzu said something like that in The Art of War.
Perhaps Apple throwing the towel in with Qualcomm was his inspiration, but then Qualcomm had Intel's ineptitude to help them.

Sweeney has never read The Art of War. Guaranteed. Sun would reject his presence. When this ends he will be running a Fortnight Channel on Twitch. ;)
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
612
1,812
Edinburgh, UK
Thats not true. You can absolutely use HTML 5, Javascript and all the web technologies and develop a web app. Any user can add an app like that to Home Screen and use it like a regular app (Only catch is it will need an internet connection). HTML 5 is completely open and based on common standards. If HTML 5 standards specify Camera access, then iOS provides it.

What you cant do is use Apple in-house built technologies like Xcode, Swift, Apple's iOS API's and other Apple developed technologies for free and develop an app and distribute it without paying Apple a cut. That I think is fair. Sure Apple's technologies is far superior to HTML 5(which is an industry standard), that's what Apple worked hard for. Asking for these technologies without paying Apple anything is unfair.
You're totally correct on all points you mention.

Apple's original plan was for the device to rely (exclusively) on HTML5 web apps for third-party, but they reversed course and introduced the App Store with the iPhone 3G. Web tech has definitely improved things a lot over the past ten years, but we're still not anywhere near as good as a native app. Hopefully one day.
 

Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
15,310
14,637
Singapore
Tim Sweeney must know something that we don't. It looks like a clear cut case for Apple winning but you don't fight a war unless you think you can win it. I'm sure Sun Tzu said something like that in The Art of War.
Perhaps Apple throwing the towel in with Qualcomm was his inspiration, but then Qualcomm had Intel's ineptitude to help them.

I still think Epic overplayed their hand, and at this juncture, there’s just no turning back for them.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.