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It was always going to be a challenge for Epic Games to win its high-stakes
antitrust court battle against Apple, but the iPhone maker’s qualified victory this
month will still have brought sighs of relief.
Epic — maker of the hit game Fortnite — wanted to open up Apple’s iOS
operating system to alternative app stores and bypass its in-app payment
mechanism that collects its 30 percent commission fee. Apple’s broad lines of
defense were that it doesn’t run a monopoly through its operating system, and
that security and privacy benefits justify its App Store policies.
After weeks of California court drama in May, the judgment dropped on Sept. 10,
and it largely validated Apple’s arguments. But not wholly: It was ordered to
remove rules that stop developers advertising alternative payment methods
within their apps as well as rules that stop them reaching out to their customers
outside of the App Store.
It’s unclear at this stage exactly what impact that will have on Apple’s revenues.
But the case has become a symbol of the 21st century’s struggle to use antitrust
law to bring Big Tech to heel.
A bipartisan group of US legislators is ramping up a push for pending bills that
could unwind the market power of Apple and rival Google, and legislative
challenges are developing in Korea, Europe, Japan and elsewhere.
This MLex Special Report was first published in May with exclusive blow-by-blow
coverage of the trial, and it is now updated to feature detailed commentary on
the fallout from the ruling and the possible broader impact on Big Tech.
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