Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Apple Wins Antitrust Battle With Epic Games

Sarah Perez (Hacker News):

In today’s decision, the appeals court panel affirmed the district court’s denial of antitrust liability and its corresponding rejection of Epic’s illegality defense to Apple’s breach of contract counter-claim, the ruling said. However, it also noted that the district court had erred in defining the relevant antitrust market and in holding that Apple’s DPLA (Developer Program Licensing Agreement) fell outside of the scope of the antitrust law known as the Sherman Act.

But it said those errors were ultimately “harmless” and that Epic, regardless, had “failed to establish, as a factual matter, its proposed market definition and the existence of any substantially less restrictive alternative means for Apple to accomplish the procompetitive justifications supporting iOS’s walled- garden ecosystem.”

In other words, while these types of contracts can be within the scope of a Sherman Act claim, that wasn’t relevant to the court’s decision in this case.

Tim Sweeney:

Fortunately, the court’s positive decision rejecting Apple’s anti-steering provisions frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there. We’re working on next steps.

Juli Clover:

Apple was ordered to implement App Store changes that will allow developers to use metadata buttons, links, and other calls to action to direct customers to purchasing mechanisms outside of the App Store , paving the way for developers to implement alternate payment options.


According to Apple, the proposed App Store changes could “upset the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the App Store,” resulting in irreparable harm to Apple and consumers. Apple also said that it needed time to figure out the “complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, and economic issues” that the update would cause.


Update (2023-04-26): Here is the actual opinion from Judge Smith.

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My niece once fell for a subscription scam on the App Store and the swiftness with which it was resolved by Apple was impressive.

I doubt it would have been as easy with Google, and I don't think for a second she would have gotten a refund had the payment been done on a website.

The question is if she would have been able to pay for it, using her father's credit card, if it wasn't for the one click payment system that an app store provides.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

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