The first week of the hearings for for Epic Games vs. Apple antitrust lawsuit was full of twists and turns as it came to a close last weekend. The game company behind Fortnite had filed a case against Apple Inc., calling out its practices (or what Epic Games calls as ‘malpractices’), in its iOS App Store.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
The company alleged that Apple puts curbs to ensure that any apps available in its App Store do not use methods of in-app purchases that are not available on App Store itself. What it means is that any in-app purchase methods that maneuver around having to pay a commission to Apple, are mot supported.
Epic Puts Forward It’s Side of Things
Image Credits: Epic Games Store
Last week saw Epic Games presenting its side of the argument, wherein it claimed that the App Store is anti-competitive. This thesis was supported by a slew of documentary evidences, highlighting the vast amount of email deliberations that go into Apple’s negotiations. These negotiations were carried out with some of Apple’s most important partners, of which Epic Games was a part, before its account was removed by Apple, following the lawsuit.
In the evidence, Apple Inc. can be seen trying to lure its partners through compromises, while also not stepping down on App Store’s terms. It provides incentives like coordination and publicity, front page placement, new programming features, and much more.
Apple Had Previous Compromises with Netflix, Microsoft, and Facebook
This isn’t the first time that Apple has found itself in a fix over its App Store strategies. Back in 2018, it had been in quite a tussle with Netflix, when the latter decided to stop in-app purchases via App Store, bypassing paying 15-20% of the funds to Apple. The company had eventually suspended signing up for Netflix through its iOS App, as a compromise of sorts.
Only last year, Facebook too had called Apple out for harming both developers and consumers by misusing its power. This had come in the wake of Apple refusing to let the social media platform include games in its app, citing violation of App Store rules. When Facebook did launch its Facebook Gaming in late 2020, iOS users had to sit out on the cool new features due to this very disagreement.
Even Microsoft was caught up in a debate with Apple over the launch of its Office app for iPads, as long ago as in 2012. Back then, Microsoft had wanted to evade Apple’s in-app purchase system by managing the purchases itself, something that was refused by Apple. The app came to be launched only in 2014, when Satya Nadella took over.
So, Where Does XBox Come In?
Image Credits: Wikipedia
Talking about Microsoft, it has now been revealed why the company is so keen to sell its Game Pass to as many platforms as possible. XBox VP Lori Wright was a witness during the Apple vs. Epic Games hearing, where she confessed that they never make any profit over the XBox. Epic, by the way, was trying to use XBox’s profitability to exemplify why the 70:30 revenue splitting irks them in mobiles, but does not, when it comes to consoles.