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Epic Games vs. Apple: Timeline of Events Surrounding Fortnite's Removal From App Store

Picard J.L.

Suspended
Mar 27, 2020
101
94
Don't feed it, seriously, let him have his incorrect opinions.
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Exactly right, without apps the app store would be NOTHING....
And without iPhone apps would be nothing. You can go like this in circles all day. The point is that both sides are right and wrong. The only way to align both is to meet somewhere in the middle.
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Yes, they are, you can shout it as long and as loud as you want, doesn't change the fact that you're opinion is incorrect.
Ok.
 
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PC_tech

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2019
226
318
And without iPhone apps would be nothing. You can go like this in circles all day. The point is that both sides are right and wrong. The only way to align both is to meet somewhere in the middle.
[automerge]1597584853[/automerge]

Ok.
You can go in circles all you care, doesn't change a thing....
 
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ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
5,895
3,793
This is the very definition of anti-competitive behavior and is most likely illegal. Apple is using its chokehold in one market (in hardware, in app stores) to crush their competitors in another market (music, games).

Consider Apple Music vs Spotify. Spotify has to pay Apple 30%. Apple doesn't have this 30% cost because their true cost for hosting the service is minimal (see my previous post on costs). Therefore, Apple is taxing its direct competitor, causing them to make less money. What's more, they're directly profiting from their competitor's business, by taking money from each sale of their competitor!

That is, not only is Spotify making less money, each time they do make money, they're also enriching their competitor Apple! It's very possible that for each sale, spotify's profit margin (given that content is expensive) is actually less than that of Apple's, on a service provided by Spotify!

===
Historical tidbit:
In the 90s, Microsoft was found guilty of anti-competitor behavior in US courts for using their operating system chokehold to crush their browser competitor Netscape. And what exactly did MS do that was so bad? They bundled Internet Explorer for free with Windows... That's right: they were violating the law for giving away something for free. At least in that case, you could say the consumer got a good deal. In Apple's case, Epic just demonstrated in clear terms actual damage to the consumer when they listed the two prices of transactions side by side: $7.99 vs $9.99 via Apple.

Getting IE for free is hardly a good deal. It was a crap product for the longest time. Especially the Mac version, but the Windows one wasn’t anything to be proud of either.

Still, the free crap often kills the better product, despite all knowledge what that will result in. Google and Facebook Ride along that same trail to this day.
 
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Realityck

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2015
880
804
Silicon Valley, CA
30% is excessive for subscriptions. For initial app purchases it may be reasonable, but Apple is being greedy (surprise surprise, it’s in their DNA) by charging that much for regular subscriptions.

I found out I can buy my Tidal subscription through the website and use it in the app, so I’d rather do that than give Apple money that they don’t deserve. I wonder why Tidal can do this but Epic Fortnight can’t.

If anyone thinks Apple is this pillar of righteousness and moral superiority, I have two words: consumable IAPs; aka loot boxes; aka gambling; aka pay-to-win etc, etc. Apple also pushes games that employ these nefarious tactics heavily. They don’t care if kids or vulnerable people get addicted and spend thousands of dollars on credit cards that they don’t have, so long as they get their 30% cut. If you think this doesn’t happen, think again!

I don’t even mind necessarily that Apple is a ruthless, tax-evading corporation. That is after all what corporations do, and are expected to do by their shareholders. What bothers me is that Apple still tries to portray itself as this underdog figure and bastion of moral superiority that’s on our side, when that very clearly isn’t the case; and hasn’t been for a long time. They also never admit to any wrongdoing even when they get fined or lose court battles (which they very frequently do). It was also a lie apparently when they said they treat every developer equally.

Apple is playing with fire here. They risk undermining their entire App Store model. Fortnight was one of the games that was frequently touted and shown off on the iPad as a demonstration of its capabilities as well.
We have a interesting re-examination of marketplace activities going on right now. We see a lot of this 30% commission occurring multiple providers, and to have a blanket acceptance that this is all fine is finally being questioned. Also Apple's reluctance to partner/support cloud based computer games is in full view. Not this is not all about EPIC Fornite, its actually about our admiration of Apple changing due to this revenue stream taking priority over culling developer backing.

So Apple do you want to grow your marketplace with existing and new products/services or just maximize revenues as you approach 2 trillion dollars value, that's the real question?
 
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KevinSwansea

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Aug 15, 2020
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How is any of that pro-consumer? Even developers are consumers. You just described Apple behaving like a king with his kingdom with rules that have to be obeyed. Keep it up, your not helping Apple's image at all. :D

No offence but Apple don’t have to be pro-consumer at all, it’s the consumer’s choice to buy Apple products and a lot of us do it because they just work (most of the time). Apple police the App Store, they reject dross from it and also don’t allow suspicious or malicious apps to be side-loaded. Several companies have made a lot of money by being inside the Apple ecosystem and now want to pay less for it. At the end of the day it’s the ecosystem that made them their money so why shouldn’t Apple get its commission?
 
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Ricebucket

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2004
49
30
Getting IE for free is hardly a good deal. It was a crap product for the longest time. Especially the Mac version, but the Windows one wasn’t anything to be proud of either.

Still, the free crap often kills the better product, despite all knowledge what that will result in. Google and Facebook Ride along that same trail to this day.

This is far offtopic...
What you're saying is not actual history. IE, around version 3-5, was amazing. It was a lot better than Netscape, and that's partly what killed Netscape. It was a fantastic deal for free.
 
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bushman4

macrumors 68030
Mar 22, 2011
2,860
540
Epic agreed to Apples terms when it was first put in the App Store. Now that Epic is successful and has acquired Apples and Googles customer base they want more money by breaking the rules
This case will go on in court for years
Epic loses Apple loses Google loses and most of all the customers are going to get disgusted
 
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Realityck

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2015
880
804
Silicon Valley, CA
No offence but Apple don’t have to be pro-consumer at all, it’s the consumer’s choice to buy Apple products and a lot of us do it because they just work (most of the time). Apple police the App Store, they reject dross from it and also don’t allow suspicious or malicious apps to be side-loaded. Several companies have made a lot of money by being inside the Apple ecosystem and now want to pay less for it. At the end of the day it’s the ecosystem that made them their money so why shouldn’t Apple get its commission?
IMHO buying Apple products because they just work, was never why I bought any of their products. It was the attention to quantity between hardware appearance, ruggedness, ease of use, but yeah as things get complicated they work most of the time. :D

Apple products are most definitely status symbols, hence don’t take you eyes off of them, if you want to hang on to them. The company’s drive to maintain security and privacy is legendary. Apple has designed the store so they can root out an offending app immediately, so yes they is a lot of value with that, but overall based on the percentage of problems they encountered is the 30% commission still necessary, I’m interested to know if they are willing to cut this a bit, to boost their software diversity as well as generating more development of apps? We’ll see.;)
 
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chucker23n1

macrumors 601
Dec 7, 2014
4,634
5,824
Getting IE for free is hardly a good deal. It was a crap product for the longest time. Especially the Mac version, but the Windows one wasn’t anything to be proud of either.

Still, the free crap often kills the better product, despite all knowledge what that will result in. Google and Facebook Ride along that same trail to this day.

Neither IE for Windows nor IE for Mac were a bad browser. IE's CSS support (especially in IE 5 for Mac) was way ahead of Netscape's, for example.

Netscape kind of got lost trying to turn their browser into a "Communicator" suite of apps that a lot of people didn't actually want.
 
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involuntarheely

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2019
105
100
Epic agreed to Apples terms when it was first put in the App Store. Now that Epic is successful and has acquired Apples and Googles customer base they want more money by breaking the rules
This case will go on in court for years
Epic loses Apple loses Google loses and most of all the customers are going to get disgusted

yeah it's called having market power. people and companies kinda have to agree to your terms, or not be in business.
again the issue is what the market is and whether Apple does have market power -- which will be to the court to decide.

to me this looks like it could go ahead in so many ways. even just the fact that Google has the same 30% fee and similar rules and also blocked Epic shortly after. this can be interpreted as collusion, which is sometimes also punishable in antitrust law.... and I don't think there needs to be any communication between companies to identify it as anticompetitive. but I might be mixing up with EU antitrust law here.
 
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Jared Strike

macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2013
236
179
To those opposed to the 30%, I am very curious what you think Apple's motives are. Apple has a cost of operating. People who say that it costs them nothing are absolutely clueless because there is absolutely a cost involved. Not to mention profit. Apple, as much as most of us on this forum love their products, they are also in business to make money. Imagine that! Saying they are greedy is just non-sense, they could easily take 40% or 50% or whatever amount they want. It's up to them. We live in a (mostly) free market. If you do not like or agree with their platform, do not use it.
 
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pacalis

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2011
655
270
IMHO buying Apple products because they just work, was never why I bought any of their products. It was the attention to quantity between hardware appearance, ruggedness, ease of use, but yeah as things get complicated they work most of the time. :D

Apple products are most definitely status symbols, hence don’t take you eyes off of them, if you want to hang on to them. The company’s drive to maintain security and privacy is legendary. Apple has designed the store so they can root out an offending app immediately, so yes they is a lot of value with that, but overall based on the percentage of problems they encountered is the 30% commission still necessary, I’m interested to know if they are willing to cut this a bit, to boost their software diversity as well as generating more development of apps? We’ll see.;)

If Macrumors was Epic they would be charging you $10 for your deadpool logo.

Epic isn't saving the world here - they selling digital outfits to kids for as much as many physical Halloween costumes cost retail.
 
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pasamio

macrumors regular
Jan 22, 2020
216
165
Historical tidbit:
In the 90s, Microsoft was found guilty of anti-competitor behavior in US courts for using their operating system chokehold to crush their browser competitor Netscape. And what exactly did MS do that was so bad? They bundled Internet Explorer for free with Windows... That's right: they were violating the law for giving away something for free. At least in that case, you could say the consumer got a good deal. In Apple's case, Epic just demonstrated in clear terms actual damage to the consumer when they listed the two prices of transactions side by side: $7.99 vs $9.99 via Apple.

I think if you read a little more you'll find that whilst they were found guilty, it was overturned on appeal. Afterwards DOJ and Microsoft reached a settlement to share the private APIs that IE was given access to that enabled features that competitor software couldn't access. It wasn't that Microsoft merely bundled the browser it was that Microsoft used their monopoly on the operating system to limit competition in the browser market because Netscape couldn't make an equal product. Microsoft wasn't prohibited from bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and it wasn't until the EU stepped in that they were forced to add the browser selection screen to Windows users in the EU.

In this case with Apple, Epic wilfully violated the terms of their contract with Apple by inside their application providing an alternative payment option. Epic also wilfully violated a similar agreement with Google resulting in their similar removal from the App Store.

In the Apple case they attempt to define the market as being users who buy a product from a particular company, Apple in this case. I suspect that Apple will define the market as smartphones and smartphone app stores in which Apple does not have a monopoly. I also expect Apple to argue that even if the iOS ecosystem is considered a monopoly that it has done so through a natural monopoly and that those features are what has enabled it to grow in the wider smartphone ecosystem over the last 12 years or so the App Store has existed running for the most part under the same terms. This may be used as a part of a motion to dismiss, to be honest it'll be really interesting to see what Apple counter with here.

The Google case is a little more interesting in that there is allegations of what looks like tortious interference between parties though that could be Google stating that access to Google's Play ecosystem limits a third party vendors ability to ship competing fourth party software (in this case the Epic launcher). This to be honest feels much more like an anti-competitive play because of it's move to interfere or withhold access to services from a third party. Harkening back to the Microsoft case, this could be construed as Google withholding access to private APIs (the Google Play store and related software) to limit competition against it.

If anything Google's actions are more similar to Microsoft's threats to OEM and restricting API access. The Apple case I feel is much more straightforward though hinges on if a single company's product can be defined as a market for the purposes of competition. I don't think a judge will define it so narrowly.

Of course Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have equivalent terms with their console developers and will be looking at the case closely as those same arguments applied to Apple could well be applied to their own platforms and stores. However the ramification if defined that a company has a monopoly over products it produces and the ecosystem it fosters could apply to anyone shipping electronics today.
 
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involuntarheely

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2019
105
100
To those opposed to the 30%, I am very curious what you think Apple's motives are. Apple has a cost of operating. People who say that it costs them nothing are absolutely clueless because there is absolutely a cost involved. Not to mention profit. Apple, as much as most of us on this forum love their products, they are also in business to make money. Imagine that! Saying they are greedy is just non-sense, they could easily take 40% or 50% or whatever amount they want. It's up to them. We live in a (mostly) free market. If you do not like or agree with their platform, do not use it.

price in competitive markets is determined by supply and demand. with market power, there are inefficiencies in price-making due to the distortions caused by actors with market power.

welcome to econ 101!
 
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PC_tech

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2019
226
318
If Macrumors was Epic they would be charging you $10 for your deadpool logo.

Epic isn't saving the world here - they selling digital outfits to kids for as much as many physical Halloween costumes cost retail.
And they have the choice to purchase those items or not, not even close to being the same.
 
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Jared Strike

macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2013
236
179
price in competitive markets is determined by supply and demand. with market power, there are inefficiencies in price-making due to the distortions caused by actors with market power.

welcome to econ 101!
Sure but there is nothing really stopping Apple from pricing their services to whatever they want.
 
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ds2000

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2012
370
184
As a freelance IT'er. If an agency offered me a job but said "we're taking 30% of your day rate" - I'd tell them where to go.
That is extortionate.
 
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CthuluLemon

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2020
123
71
Sure but there is nothing really stopping Apple from pricing their services to whatever they want.

But when a single company controls access to the customer, and can limit access, it affects natural demand and competition. Welcome to Econ 102.

Sidenote: Considering Econ 101 and Econ 102, at most institutions, are required general education courses that offer little more than a survey of macro and micro economics, anyone else reading this shouldn't take anything I or Jared Strike have said concerning economics with even a grain of salt until we more reasonably convey our authority on economics. Referencing low 100-level economics courses does in no way assert our authority to speak on economic matters.
 
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Ricebucket

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2004
49
30
I think if you read a little more you'll find that whilst they were found guilty, it was overturned on appeal. Afterwards DOJ and Microsoft reached a settlement to share the private APIs that IE was given access to that enabled features that competitor software couldn't access. It wasn't that Microsoft merely bundled the browser it was that Microsoft used their monopoly on the operating system to limit competition in the browser market because Netscape couldn't make an equal product. Microsoft wasn't prohibited from bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and it wasn't until the EU stepped in that they were forced to add the browser selection screen to Windows users in the EU.

In this case with Apple, Epic wilfully violated the terms of their contract with Apple by inside their application providing an alternative payment option. Epic also wilfully violated a similar agreement with Google resulting in their similar removal from the App Store.

...

If anything Google's actions are more similar to Microsoft's threats to OEM and restricting API access. The Apple case I feel is much more straightforward though hinges on if a single company's product can be defined as a market for the purposes of competition. I don't think a judge will define it so narrowly.

Of course Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have equivalent terms with their console developers and will be looking at the case closely as those same arguments applied to Apple could well be applied to their own platforms and stores. However the ramification if defined that a company has a monopoly over products it produces and the ecosystem it fosters could apply to anyone shipping electronics today.

Fair enough on the MS history. But several points with regards to your comments:
1) Apple is also limiting Epic and Spotify's access to the market because of their control of the app store and the hardware. I've gotten popups when opening up the app store to tell me about apple arcade. There's no way Epic can have this level of access.
2) The EU is in the picture here too, just as they were in the MS case. They may be more willing to rule against these dominant American companies.
3) Developers have been arguing that the terms of their contract with Apple has been too vague and apple changes the rules to its favor. Essentially the only firm rule is that Apple must approve you. Everything else on what you can and cannot do has been full of inconsistencies and holes, including in-app purchases and streaming content specifically.
4) Consoles have a different business model and are a different type of device. Tim Sweeney of Epic has commented on his point himself.
5) Epic is hoping they can start a revolt of developers. And it seems like the voices are getting louder, regardless of how the court will decide. Both Microsoft and Facebook are now in this camp. It is difficult for me to imagine how Apple can sustain this much longer and pacify these developers even if they do win the court battle. These companies will continue to create bad press for Apple and try to poke holes in its rules.
 
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m68k

macrumors newbie
Aug 17, 2020
1
1
I like App Store the way it is. This model protect us from greedy people like the kind of Epic. Epic got greedy. What do they sell exactly over and over and how they justify the price?
 
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CthuluLemon

macrumors regular
Aug 14, 2020
123
71
I like App Store the way it is. This model protect us from greedy people like the kind of Epic. Epic got greedy. What do they sell exactly over and over and how they justify the price?

Could you elaborate? How did epic get greedy? What aren't you familiar with about their product? What price do you have a problem with, and why do you find its justifiability questionable?
 
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