Epic-Apple lawsuit filings reveal Epic’s pre-suit efforts at securing competing payment options

    
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Epic-Apple lawsuit filings reveal Epic’s pre-suit efforts at securing competing payment options

The upcoming legal clash between Apple and Epic Games has mostly featured a competition by Epic to secure mind share, painting the company in general and Fortnite in specific as victims of Apple’s overbearing policies through parody ads and a petty competition. Some recently released information as part of a court filing from Apple might damage some of that narrative weaving, however, as it features a June email from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney where he asks Apple to allow the company to create competing payment options or a competing Epic Games store app to circumvent Apple’s payment policies:

“Because of restrictions imposed by Apple, Epic is unable to provide consumers with certain features in our iOS apps. We would like to offer consumers the following features:

1) Competing payment processing options other than Apple payments, without Apple’s fees, in Fortnite and other Epic Games software distributed through the iOS App Store;

2) A competing Epic Games Store app available through the iOS App Store and through direct installation that has equal access to underlying operating system features for software installation and update as the iOS App Store itself has, including the ability to install and update software as seamlessly as the iOS App Store experience.”

Apple responded with a six-page email that called in to question Epic’s ability to maintain its own storefront with the “same rigorous standards of privacy, security, and content as Apple” and directly refused the request to circumvent Apple’s payment policies while still enjoying the benefits of the App Store platform.

“The App Store is not simply a marketplace — it is part of a larger bundle of tools, technologies and services that Apple makes available to developers to develop and create great applications for iPhone, iPad and other Apple products. We know Epic knows this. Epic has been a major beneficiary of this investment and support. Epic has made great use of Apple-provided tools, such as TestFlight, VOIP, Stickers, iCloud document storage, ARKit, Messages Extension, ReplayKit, and Push Notifications.”

When the email first came to light, Epic came under fire for allegedly asking for special privileges, but Tim Sweeney immediately defended the request on Twitter, pointing to a portion of the email that requests that the same options to circumvent Apple payment policies be offered to all developers, not just Epic Games.

Either way, it’s not exactly making either company look good.

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kjempff

The fair outcome of this would be that Apple should not be allowed to block price differencing.
If you didn’t know.. Apple will not let you sell itemX for.13$ on the AppStore if you can buy it for 10$ if you were on another platform. Meaning that Apple will not allow the transfer the cost of their 30% cut to the consumer, but that the developer has to eat that loss themselves.

I think it is somewhat ok that Apple can control and take their cut of Apps on their platform, like all other platforms also do (Steam, Google Play, etc).
But the cost of their cut should be transferable to the consumer, so developers can sell their stuff at a price that is profitable.

Whether Apple should be forced to allow other App stores on iOS devices is another talk.

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kelvar

In a surprise to no one, it’s ultimately about more money / control for Epic.

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traja

Epic would almost assuredly do the same thing themselves if the roles were reversed. Doesn’t make what Apple is doing right though.

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John Kiser

Except that epic only take a 12% cut if you use their store front and even waive their typical 5% of the engine (if they took the 5% from the engine too it’d be 17%) so…. That isn’t really accurate that if roles were reversed they’d do the same.

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traja

Epic is in a position where they are having to compete with the market dominance that Steam has, while Apple on the other hand is able to shut down all competition within the mobile iOS install base. That is why we can’t make a direct comparison but all companies that hold monopolistic control tend to behave the same way in that position.

Now Unreal Engine on the other hand is genuinely a good thing that Epic does. 5% for an actually high quality engine that is otherwise free is incredible for indie developers. It’s something that used to be completely out of reach without big investors behind the project.

Puts into perspective all the store cuts.

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John Kiser

It wasn’t just self serving though and the email revealed just that. That epic said they’d hope apple would extend cuts and the like to other developers.

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David Goodman

Yeah i’m not sure this really comes off the way that he thinks it comes off.

He says that Apple is too strict and it’s preventing him from offering his customers specific features. Features such as, not using Apple. I don’t think that’s as compelling as you think it is.

(yea i’m simplifying it)

At this point, I honestly think it’d be cheaper for him to just use this money to create a new phone model and OS. Epic Phone Store, with Epic Phones that integrate directly with Epic Game Store.

Now you too can preorder EPS timed exclusives such as “Gacha Garbage 3: Now With 16 More Premium Currencies”, and “Misleading Almost Naked Female You’ll Never See A Model For In-Game: 3”!

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Arktouros

Making your own hardware devices is extremely risky. Like Asus already makes gaming phones and no one cares about them at all, just not going to be a huge seller when you get down to it. They could invest billions (like Apple has) and end up with a dud no one wants.

Far more efficient money wise to just throw away a few hundred million dollars at court lawsuits and hope shit sticks and you get some super liberal judge who wants to stick it to large corporations like Apple and rules for you.

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

*Munches popcorn.*

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Arktouros

Tim’s reply that it’s for all developers is nonsensical. Most companies aren’t in a position where they can feasibly build their own marketplace let alone do their own payment processing. Epic is in that position because it already built all that on the Windows platform when Valve also wouldn’t give them a reduced cut of sales. They also have proven they have the capital to go on a buying spree and buy out tons of exclusives to drive people to their storefront which again most companies simply can’t do. Even large companies like EA are giving up on their stores in the wake of Epic’s buying sprees and putting their offerings on Steam these days.

Apple’s initial reply basically details all the defenses they’re going to employ as well. They brought up Epic’s developers praising the Apple development tools that Apple offers as part of their program (helping justify the 30% cut). They brought up that Epic as a company earned 7x the profit they earned from the Apple store showing they clearly have numerous avenues to sell their product (meaning Apple doesn’t have a monopoly). They also establish they’ve built their brand on the idea of a tightly controlled environment they curate (which these demands would undermine like they do in Android). Then there’s paragraphs on Apple’s intellectual property rights to most of these things and Epic can’t just demand access to them. Finally finishes with showing Epic does all these exact same things with Unreal Engine and TenCent does the same with WeChat so clearly he can’t object to these principles.

Really should be a slam dunk case here for Apple. Probably go through court for various years with various appeals but can’t see the courts enabling one company to tell another company how they have to do business (especially one that doesn’t have the majority market share).

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traja

Most ciitizens aren’t in a position where they can feasibly build their own airliner. So let’s not allow competition in the airliner business? Right?

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Bruno Brito

You would be correct if this was a competition issue.

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traja

Yeah, if only it was about being able to compete with the Apple store on the iPhone platform. If only…

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Arktouros

You’re right, it’s not about that. You don’t compare a sub-market to itself. You don’t look at Apple/iPhone in the context of just Apple/iPhone you look at it the context of the market it is a part of.

In this case the mobile phone market. Which between it and Google make up 98% of the total mobile market share and which Apple has 22% of globally. That’s predicted to shrink down to 13% by 2023 implying strong competition against Apple.

You could also compare it to the gaming market (since a Phone could be considered a device which you can play games on) of which Epic was able to bring in 1.8 billion dollars in 2019 only 245 million of which came from Apple. This again implies strong competition.

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traja

It is entirely arbitrary which market you focus on. You are simply stating your opinion as if it was objective. It is not. It’s something for the courts to decide should it ever come into question.

Microsoft was not allowed to dictate who is permitted to compete with their software on Microsofts own platform. The Apple store is just software on the iOS platform.

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Arktouros

Actually I’m stating the facts and data of the scenario as objective because they are simply facts of the matter. If you have other facts that show other data on mobile phone market share or Epic’s income numbers.

The fact that it’s very arbitrary to decide that the scope will only be part of the market, such as just Apple’s store and customer base, is my entirely my point. Arguing that Apple has a monopoly over Apple’s market is extremely narrow and you could make that argument in any circumstance. You could argue Walmart has a monopoly over all Walmart customers. However when you put these businesses into proper context of the rest of the market you realize they don’t have a monopoly and so the claims against them that they do are unfounded.

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traja

What is arbitrary is your focus on the mobile market. Your facts of that market are entirely irrelevant. What matters is justifying why that is the sole market that matters. Now a court might agree with you but you don’t know that.

Microsoft didn’t get to have a monopoly within the Windows platform. Why should Apple get to have a monopoly within the iOS platform?

Why talk about Walmart when there are software examples that exist?

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Arktouros

The lawsuit specifically calls out Apple’s iOS marketplace and it’s IAP policies. This is specifically a mobile phone operating system and it’s mobile marketplace policies, so calling them out on these things they have to be compared to the rest of market if one exists. This is where the facts about the mobile market become entirely relevant because they not only show that such a market exists but that Apple is not even a majority share of. So the focus of the mobile market is not arbitrary but rather exactly to what this lawsuit is making claims about.

Microsoft didn’t get to have a monopoly over Internet Explorer and that’s a very important distinction. If you look at the details relevant to that case it was entirely regarding Microsoft interfering with other companies abilities to do business with other OEM (original equipment manufacturers). They were purposely sabotaging deals that Netscape or Java might have with companies like Compaq or other hardware manufacturers to not include/support their browsers so they could retain a monopoly control over web browsing. This is where Epic’s lawsuit against Google has more merit because Google has been doing that with other Android device OEMs.

These details are important because you can note a number of distinctions with Apple’s scenario. The most important of which is that Apple is the sole OEM of Apple hardware and all dealings with them must go through them and their agreements. This is in stark contrast that with Microsoft where they did not restrict software development on their operating system via developer agreements. This had other advantages for Microsoft, such as the majority of computers in the world are now running the Windows platform instead of environments like MacOS which is a closed environment tied to expensive hardware produced by a single company.

There’s no software examples that cover what Epic is trying to pull. The closet would be the Nintendo cases of the 80’s where companies tried to sue Nintendo to make them open up and the courts backed Nintendo because they had total control over it all.

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traja

So do you think Microsoft would have, and should have, been in the clear if they never even made it possible to install any other browser than IE?

Just to be clear, Epic is bad but Apple is way, way worse. As far as I know Epic has not been found to use child labor. It is so strange to see so much defending of Apple. This is bit off topic but I can’t but make the observation that this appears to be mostly about standing up for Apple.

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Arktouros

If they had made a developer agreement where in order to develop, install and publish software on their platform you had to go through that developer agreement and that agreement expressly forbid such things then yes they would probably be in the clear.

As noted creating such an agreement has advantages, such as giving you total control over your environment, but also has disadvantages such as Apple faced early on (and still to this day really) with their computers and hardware (OS X only makes up 17% of the desktop PC market share). So had they gone that route Microsoft likely wouldn’t be as successful as they are today and maybe we’d be typing all this on some version of Unix.

I am no fan of Apple. I’ve tried but no longer use their products as I did not like their closed nature (IE: having to use iTunes program to interact with the device, having no control over what’s on the device, etc). I didn’t throw my hands into the air and scream “Monopoly!” I just went out and bought a competing product. I think I still have an iPod shuffle somewhere I bought over a decade ago in a drawer.

My horse in this race is that I dislike when people misrepresent a scenario for what it is.

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John Kiser

Actually it is a competition issue. I don’t get why folks like you continue down that line. Maybe you are thinking of it in terms of Apple not making a game engine or a game to compete as opposed to a payment provider competition which this most certainly is at issue here.

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Bruno Brito

It’s not a competition issue when you consider it inside Applestore. Epic wants it’s game inside the Apple store, they accept the rules. That’s all there is to it. They can fight the rules in court if they find them unjust, they can protest. What they’re doing is none of the sort.

The only competition here is that both companies have their own storefront. That’s all.

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John Kiser

No it is a competition issue. Again you aren’t analyzing the actual issue at hand and are just saying their own store front…. You are ignorant as hell of the suite if you think it is because they have their own store front. Epic put an update out for fortnite that allowed in app purchases to use a different payment processor that took a smaller cut (a competitor to apple) and passed those saving onto consumers by lowering the cost of what they purchased if they used that payment method apple banned them for it because apple wants to get that 30%.

The competition issue is down to apple wanting all payments to go through apple pay and no one else can use a differing payment processor. And the suite is actually about those rules being problematic. It states that apple’s control forces a developer to use their stuff or they can’t at all and there is no just “accepting the rules” because that isn’t how it works in the real world if those rules are unjust. You seem like you have no idea what this lawsuit is about and just go on a tangent about stuff because you dislike EGS.

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Arktouros

I imagine there’s extreme restrictions on setting up your own airliner business at the limited space that most major airports have. You might be able to get a plane and setup at some alternative smaller airfields but it’s not like if you can cobble together a working aircraft and just go muscle out American Airlines or something off JFK airport.

Also there is competition in the mobile market. Apple has roughly 22% market share worldwide of mobile phones, and that’s shrinking (predicted to be 13% by 2023). In the US they’re at 49% market share which still even isn’t a majority let alone a monopoly. You certainly don’t see anyone arguing that consoles aren’t competitive and there’s basically only 3 options there.

In addition of which the company challenging this, Epic, made roughly 1.8 billion dollars in 2019 of which 245 million came from the app store. So it’s not exactly like Apple’s domineering control over it’s section of the marketplace.

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traja

There are restrictions but in this case there is a flat out ban. In this scenario it would be literally impossible for anyone, no matter their resources, to ever start selling new airliners.

Also are you of the opinion that restrictions on competition against the major airline manufacturers is a good thing? It will have to be or otherwise you just argued against your own position.

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Arktouros

There likely are actual flat out bans on just starting up your own airline business and heavy regulation and checks for it to even be considered. The regulations involved due to public safety such as managing air control (so planes don’t slam into each other) make this a terrible analogy. I also simply don’t know anything about airline regulations, financing or what fees and penalties are already involved (I imagine the airlines have to pay airports to do business there for example) and finding out details to use it as an analogy are scarce at best.

Instead it’s far more practical to bring up a retail store like Walmart. Walmart does not produce all of it’s own goods and is sourced and filled with a number of it’s products from various companies. What this scenario is the equivalent of is one of those product manufacturers declaring that Walmart has a monopoly on Walmart customers and they demand the ability to setup a shop, rent free, in Walmart’s store. Not only do they demand the ability to sell their product in Walmart’s store rent free but they also demand the ability to sell other products for other people as a store within a store. The company demanding this isn’t some scrappy little guy getting crushed by the man, it’s Coca Cola demanding this.

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traja

This is about getting to compete even if most potential competitors don’t share your resources to compete, and if restrictions to compete are a good thing. I don’t see how your Walmart example applies.

Again, is it a good thing that restrictions exist in competition with existing airliners? Not safety but competition. You stated those restrictions to be an argument on your side so you must like them.

If you insist on Walmart then the analogy would be if it should be illegal to start any other retail store other than a Walmart? The justification for that would be that it is beyond the reach of most citizens to compete with Walmart.

Remember that you said this: “Most companies aren’t in a position where they can feasibly build their own marketplace let alone do their own payment processing”

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Arktouros

This is about you obtusely and repeatedly ignoring the question “getting to compete, in what?

Epic can compete in the gaming market as they pulled in 1.8 billion in profits last year with 245 million of that coming from the Apple store. So they’re able to compete in the gaming market.

Epic can compete in the mobile market as Apple doesn’t have a monopoly in the mobile market nor does even have a majority share. Not only does it not have a majority share, it is projected to lose market share.

Epic can’t compete with Apple in Apple’s own store and does that really need an explanation as to why? It doesn’t matter what store or business you want to use as an example there’s no example you can bring up where it’s expected that one business has to allow a competing product within it’s store. Obviously a store should have total control over what products go within it’s store. If you don’t like what that store has to offer or the deal to sell things in their store you go to a different store.

This is only problematic when there’s no other stores and/or the store in question is actively trying to shut down other stores and establish themselves as a monopoly. However we can see with the examination of the gaming market, there are other viable stores there. We can also see in the mobile market there are also stores there.

If you insist on Walmart then the analogy would be if it should be illegal to start any other retail store other than a Walmart? The justification for that would be that it is beyond the reach of most citizens to compete with Walmart.

If you want to setup a Walmart alternative, then it can be and actually is perfectly legal to do so. However what is not legal is demanding Walmart create a section of their store where you can setup your retail store in. Again that’s the critically important distinction you keep missing. The fact that most people don’t have the ability to create a Walmart competitor is irrelevant to the point that such ability exists.

What that fact is relevant to is that it’s only the big mega corps who could create such a competitor are the ones who stand to win, not anyone else. Claiming you’re working for the betterment for all when you’re the only one in a position to feasibly benefit from it is the typical bullshit Sweeney pulls on the regular.

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traja

You are pivoting so hard. This is about justifying the argument that Epic having resources to compete that others do not have means that Epic ought not be allowed to compete either. And yes, we are obviously talking about competing with the Apple store inside the iOS mobile operating system.

The Walmart example doesn’t make any sense because people can use any store they want without buying a device for that store first. People own their Apple device but they don’t own a Walmart they shop at. It just doesn’t apply in any way.

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Arktouros

They’re literally the same arguments I’ve been making over and over that you’ve called arbitrary despite me repeatedly now showing why they aren’t arbitrary and entirely related.

I also never made the argument that because everyone can’t create a store that Epic can’t either. What I said was:

Tim’s reply that it’s for all developers is nonsensical. Most companies aren’t in a position where they can feasibly build their own marketplace let alone do their own payment processing.

So my argument here is that what they’re doing is for all developers is nonsensical because not all developers are in a position to take advantage of what Epic wants Apple to do per the emails. It’s large mega corporations like Epic who stand to benefit the most as they not only will pay nothing to apple but they have the ability to do payment processing and thus will get other developer’s income as well. It is entirely self serving and it’s a bullshit misrepresentation for Tim to argue otherwise.

No real world analogy is going to make any sense. It’s an analogy because it’s the closet thing we could approximate to the situation being played out because no other situations exist to be comparable. I don’t fucking buy the airplane when I get on it either but here you wanna go on about airlines. The difference is that air travel is tied up with a huge number of government regulations where a retail chain of stores is more comparable to an app marketplace.

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Bruno Brito

Do you think that if Coca-Cola ever opens a storefront with the entire Coca-cola marketing behind it, they’ll sell Pepsi?

Rethorical question. Coca is not forced to sell it, and you can buy Pepsi somewhere else.

Competition.

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traja

Sorry, read you as ark first.

Microsoft didn’t get to do that. Let’s stick to software since this is about software.

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Arktouros

Microsoft didn’t get to control the web browser that got used within it’s platform that didn’t require a developer agreement to work with.

This scenario is entirely different as much as people want to tie that one specific scenario to it. Nintendo vs Tengen is by far a more relevant example of a company that has total control over it’s environment and an outside company demanding access.

PS: Tengen lost.

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traja

So do you think it would have gone differently if Microsoft had prevented installing any other browser than IE, and made you sign an agreement when installing Windows that you will not install any other browser?

I’m curious because clearly that is a much stronger stance against competition but it is what Apple is doing.

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Arktouros

Your reply shows a huge misunderstanding of the developer agreement. The developer agreement states that you can’t design your software to do certain things as listed in that agreement. It has absolutely nothing to do the end user/customer who would actually install the software.

So if Microsoft had a developer agreement where it said you can’t design a product with web browser capabilities that function like a web browser then yes it would have gone differently in a number of ways. Not only would Microsoft not be held accountable for that, but they also likely wouldn’t have been as successful as they were because of said restrictions.

We see an example of this with Apple in fact where they did control everything and were not successful by comparison. It wasn’t until they moved to a device where the limitations of the device meant being open was less impactful (IE: If your hard drive fails in a phone you just get a new phone but in a PC you’d replace it which is more limited for Apple computers) that they found success.

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traja

The developer agreement has to do with the Apple store and not the device itself. What Apple does is block installing another storefront by any means whatsoever. With the Apple store or outside of it.

Would it have gone differently if Windows blocked installing all other browsers? No need to think about agreements because no company can dictate what you can design.

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Arktouros

Apple doesn’t block it by any means what so ever, they never designed an alternative path to install software on their device outside of the App store. The store and the device are one and the same and it was designed that way since the start. The only avenue for software developers to interact with the device is through the store. There is no “outside” of anymore than there is an “outside” of a gaming console’s operating system. If you don’t like the rules of those environments then you don’t agree to operate within them and choose other alternative environments to design in.

A company can absolutely dictate what you can do with their product/environment. Epic agrees on this point and has their own rules and restrictions of what you can do with their Unreal game engine and store. This statement is just objectively and factually incorrect.

The key in the Microsoft scenario that again you keep either purposely missing or just can’t understand is Microsoft didn’t enforce or have any such agreements on what can and can’t be developed for their system. They tried to control this after the fact by making anti-competitive deals with OEMs to bully out other browsers which is specifically against the anti-trust laws. Had they created agreements in the first place things they likely wouldn’t have bee punished that way, but also likely wouldn’t have been as successful as a platform either.

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traja

So the answer is yes then, if Microsoft had never made it possible to install a competing browser they would have been completely in the clear? Forget agreements just not possible at all.

That is a fine position to take of course and it might even be accurate. I don’t agree that this should be the case since clearly that is far more anti-competitive than doing OEM deals. But the world is not just and disgusting companies like Apple get to win all the time.

My hope is that one day the EU takes an interest in this topic. They have a real chance and have shown to use their power to make the company behave. In the US I don’t know if anything can realistically happen.

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Arktouros

If they had designed their system to be closed, yes they would have been in the clear.

This is also not a position I’m taking, it’s just how things are when we examine the tech industry. These companies invest millions of dollars designing a platform solely with the purpose of monetizing it in such ways.

There’s huge risk in doing that as well. Companies like Microsoft has tried to get into the Mobile phone market and has failed each time with their Windows phones. Millions of dollars flushed down the drain in failure when a device isn’t adopted by the market. Even Apple failed multiple times such as see Apple Newton.

But lets propose a reverse scenario here. Should Epic have to allow Apple payment inside Fortnite even when it’s on other platforms? Can apple sue Epic to force them allow Apple payment for Fortnite on Xbox? How about on PC? Can apple design cosmetics for Fortnite using their Metal engine that Epic used for Fornite and does Epic have to allow Apple to sell them in a competing marketplace?

Again, just absurd when you think about it.

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traja

That’s where we get back to the arbitrary way that you have to choose which market to focus on. Windows was a large enough market that it was a focus for antitrust action. iOS is also massive enough for that so I don’t know how it can go down. By that I mean if a real big player like the EU Comission is behind it and not the Epic lawsuit.

It’s just not as simple as you are painting it as. Just because the market is internal to iOS does not mean that it can’t be involved in antitrust. Also whether completely blocking installations protects you is to be determined. And it is blocking, because that is what not supporting is, a different way to describe blocking.

There are already hacked ways to install software on iPhones outside of the store so let’s not pretend that it is some super hard thing to support.

I notice that you never criticize Apple. Company that has been involved in a lot of far worse things than Epic has, including children working in factories. Is there are reason for that? Because I am more than willing to say that Epic is a shady company in the gaming space.

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Arktouros

Size is not necessarily the metric that draws anti-trust focus on a company. Most antitrust laws focus specifically on companies who use various predatory business practices to remain the dominant player in an industry.

Like the fact that Microsoft is and was the dominant Operating System does not inherently run afoul of anti-trust laws. It was them using that position to force OEMs (other equipment companies) to install and use their web browser product that got them into trouble. They still to this day have 77% of the desktop PC market share.

The fact you consistently misunderstand concepts in this discussion shows it’s not a simple matter. For example you myopically continue to focus on one company’s business dealings rather than the industry as a whole when talking about antitrust and monopolies.

What has to be determined is whether or not businesses can enforce and hold people to developer agreements, not anything about blocking. Epic openly violated multiple parts of Apple’s developer agreement and were told to change. Epic did this willingly and knowingly as admitted in Tim’s emails. Apple has also stated they will reinstate Fortnite if they change it back to follow the guidelines Apple put forth. So it’s not like Apple one day woke up to an a fiery email from Tim and then just blocked their app in retaliation. It took Epic modifying their game in a way that violated their agreement that then prompted the action from Apple.

I don’t criticize Apple because most of my criticisms of Apple aren’t relevant to this conversation on Epic vs Apple. Discussion of what company is better or worse plays exactly into Epic’s narrative that they’re the scrappy Hero company fighting off the big bad Apple man. They aren’t. The emails show this whole thing has been in planning for months as a calculated move against a company (Apple).

It’s that disingenuous misrepresentation of this scenario is specifically what I’m against.

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cursedseishi

I wouldn’t waste time or energy with them. Their behavior is no different than a troll with the amount of circular arguments, disingenuous intent, and whataboutism on display from them here and elsewhere.

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traja

Everyone who doesn’t agree with me is a troll as well. Sigh…

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traja

I was talking about whether the market could be the focus of an antitrust action at all, not whether the company did something bad within that market.

So for example in this case it is different if the judgement is that the court would only consider the mobile market as a whole and not the iOS maket, than if the judgement is that Apple did nothing wrong within the iOS market. You keep talking about the latter but you never address how iOS and Windows are very similar in the former.

Honestly I am starting to think that I am talking with someone who has ties with Apple, whether direct or indirect.

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Bruno Brito

Sure: Can Microsoft deny itself from publishing any game they want from the MSstore?

The answer is yes. YOUR computer is not MS property, so you get to install whatever you want. Microsoft is not forced to offer you anything outside of what you bought with Windows.

But the MS STOREFRONT is a Microsoft property and they can sell stool samples there if they so desire.

I’m seeing things really simply here: Epic wanted to circumvent Apple’s paying method while still having access to the storefront because they know that Apple users don’t like using other storefronts or whatever the reason. They want the market of Apple users with all the convenience that Apple can offer, without the downsides Apple offered them. And you can argue that the price is oppressive ( It is, 30% is a lot ) but that’s not the debate here. Epic is pulling everyone’s legs to defend them on a case that is mainly because of money. Money that no Apple user or Fortnite player will ever see. I’m not joining this shitshow, and NO ONE who matters ( customers ) benefit from this.

I’m not one to agree with Ark on everything but he’s completely on point here. This helps no one except two greedy corporations trying to outgreed each other.

And, before i forget: If Fortnite players want to play Fortnite on their mobile, they can fuck off to the Epic store and get that, or they can try their luck on 3rd party websites. Apple sells what they want. Competition.

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traja

While Microsoft could block Steam on the MS store they do nothing to prevent you from installing it on Windows. Apple does prevent you from installing a version of Steam altogether onto an iOS phone. So what you answered is a question that was never asked.

I agree that Epic is doing this mainly for money. Of course their actual goal was to get all the benefits of the existing mobile stores but take none of the costs usually associated. However that does not mean that Apple is in the right either.

What Apple is doing is an order of magnitude more severe than what Microsoft was fined for. The only debate on that really is whether Apple has handled it in a manner that they are legally in the clear.

It’s always two greedy companies in this type of situation. In this case it’s a bad actor vs. a truly foul actor. Personally, I am hoping that Apple loses hard one day. Hopefully it’s this time but I don’t think it’s very likely.

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Bruno Brito

If you can play Fortine on a Apple mobile device, it’s not a competition issue.

Period.

I’m done talking in circles with you.

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Kevin Smith

Epic isn’t going to win this nor should they. If they want to circumvent payment options then go build your own mobile device. Apple offers a platform and charges to use that platform. Seems like fair market to me. Google does the same thing. Don’t want to pay to use their platforms that’s fine then remove your stuff from their platforms. The only people being hurt are the epic customers in the end.

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Utakata

To be fair, I believe Epic is going after Google over this too. It seems only Apple is not taking to this well, to put it mildly.

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John Kiser

That’s not how this works in the real world and those restrictions do eventually need to be challenged or they can hold developers to whatever they want. Frankly the better thing to do would be these companies acting like adults and agreeing to a sliding scale as far as the % go. IE the more money your application brings in the less of a percent you pay you could bring it down to 10 – 15% on the low end (epic does 12% for their store).

Also I think it reasonable that epic wants a lower rate considering that in some cases they were forking out over 600 MILLION a year to just apple where that number being closer to 120 mill is far far far more reasonable.

Also no the only people hurt are not the epic customers in the end. Apple will shoot themselves in the foot longer term as they don’t actually think about these things. Their actions toward stadia, xcloud, and wordpress (which they realized was wrong) just end up adding fuel to the fire

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Utakata

It’s hard to get behind any of these two entities when both seem to be standing on zero moral grounds. I really hope ordinary users who are directly and indirectly affected by this squabble ‘n charade don’t end up getting shafted by all of this.

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Nathan Aldana

considering all the marketing epic had made just for this fight its kinda obvious they were planning to try and turn this into a narrative of being scrappy heroes for a while

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Utakata

Kind reminds me how certain populists phrase “elites” in their election pandering, to hide the fact they came from the same pedigree to which they have no intentions of letting that go.

miol
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miol

Apridise
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Apridise

I see two ways this goes… nothing changes, or developers and consumers get more options, granted Epic has done a lot that doesn’t make them any better than Apple. But ….. why does everything think this doesn’t actually benefit everyone if something changes? This guy just seem pissed he isn’t making that much…

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Nathan Aldana

Epic has no interest in giving people more options, solely in clearing the way for them to get literally all the money. If you think thats somehow going to make small developers any more money you’re severely naive.

Apridise
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Apridise

Oh, what’s your explanation then of Apple reversing its decision for the Word Press app then?

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Bruno Brito

Cutting costs? Who knows. It’s money for sure.

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Arktouros

You lack imagination/understanding then.

Most importantly, consumers actually get less options if Epic wins. Epic has shown they are willing to throw cash around to buy out exclusives when they run a store front. Exclusives means you don’t get a choice where you buy a product because it’s exclusive to one store over the other. More stores don’t mean more options if you can only get something from one particular store.

It also doesn’t give developers equivalent options in terms of payment transactions as the reality is that most companies aren’t multi-billion dollar companies who can just setup a store and payment processing on their own. This means they’re still going to be beholden to another storefront to do all these things who are still going to take a cut like Apple. It may be less of a cut but the big winner in that scenario is other mega corps like Epic who stand to make hundreds of millions.

It also sets a number of horrific precedents in the tech industry. Apple makes all their own hardware, owns the operating system, and basically controls the whole thing top to bottom. The ability for an external third party to force you to redesign your entire system to become open when it’s always been closed is a gross interference with another company’s business and product. That level of interference is unprecedented to the point I can’t even think of an analogy that isn’t just wholly unbelievable it’s so incredulous. It will have massive shockwaves through the tech industry on what and how companies have to design things.

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John Kiser

Steam is the defacto store on PC and while many claim there are competing stores there really are not. While steam doesn’t get a cut of sales if a developer requests a key. If you buy a game anywhere else unless it is from GoG or Itch.io or say Origin/Uplay/ARC you are looking at literally activating a key on steam. This means that for context that steam is not just responsible for almost all pc gaming sales, but also distribution even when other store fronts are used…

Now steam also enjoys what is known in the business world as first mover advantage and in general terms they control the market because they are first to it largely (in other terms they control things heavily as a result ie developer relationships and customer base for PC gaming) and getting into any market where you already have an incumbent player is well nigh on impossible. It is why in the real world that there are a ton of exclusivity deals that pop up be it in department stores or elsewhere to try and court a customer base to start using your store, product, etc.

Epic has to do exclusivity deals until it builds a solid enough customer base that they don’t need to offer developers money to get on the platform that may be too big a risk otherwise as far as sales and well outside of fanboys most people simply do not care where they get their games from. If epic did not do the exclusivity here is the scenario that would pop up (assuming they could get games on the platform at all). “I’ll just get the game on steam all my friends use that and no one I know uses Epic Game Store” and this would remain true even if Epic had feature parity or a better feature set.

Once you have a defacto player they remain it unless you actually entice people. A prime example here would be the failure of Google+ which while it was a better overall platform never enticed people to join it heavily and thus we ended up in that same exact situation “Well none of my friends use google+ i’ll just stick to facebook”. The only real industry where you can actually come in and shake things up without enticing people with something like exclusivity if there is a defacto player already is the hardware business for varying things. The thing that becomes important in that situation is brand recognition.

Also before mentions are made of “Well epic could just discount the games on EGS” pop up that isn’t how that works as we saw from the first sale they tried to do with their coupon thing and developers not being okay with it. Also to wit if you were to release on both steam and EGS and you did a sale on EGS you’d be required to do one on steam too as they view a developer not doing one on their store after doing one elsewhere as giving steam users a bad deal (this is particularly true for any dev that requests keys and lets them be for sale on sale humble, greenmangaming, fanatical etc.). There isn’t a favorable situation epic or really anyone could of been in with regards to actually taking on steam with a store trying to sell AAA games that weren’t just rehashed steam keys and they literally are doing what is necessary.

The games are still on PC and it’s just a different store front. It is time to grow up and realize that that kind of thing isn’t a big deal and having multiple store fronts benefits us and developers longer term.

(Edited to remove ad hom.)

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Bruno Brito

Considering Jim is relatively famous as a Youtuber, and he’s getting offers to be sponsored all the time, he’s more pissed at the state gaming is because of companies being vain and weak to money like this.

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Arktouros

Jim is just all pandering to outrage all the time these days and frankly it’s exhausting to watch. Like we get it, it’s all shit. Saying it’s all shit isn’t going to make it not shit, but glad you can make a buck off “saying how it is.”

I do like his AAA corporate speak voice though.

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Bruno Brito

I like him. Yeah, it’s a bit tiresome with the outrage all the time, but i find it more palatable when it’s targeted. The Fallout 76 fiasco for instance was targeted at Todd, and i loved every second of it. Same with Kotick for any Blizzard’s issues ( and Brack ) and he’s just good at ironic character assassination.

When it’s unfocused, i’m not huge on it. This one from FreeFortnite is a good example. It was generalist outrage at an entire situation and i felt like i couldn’t get a sense of a target. Which, to be fair, makes sense, this video is not asking you to be mad at the situation, it’s asking you to avoid it.

And in defense of him, it’s not Jim’s job to make it not shit. His job is to call it out, and improvement comes from us voting with our wallets and companies feeling the heat.

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Bruno Brito

This is an hilarious shitshow, and i for one, look forward with glee for these two companies getting their faces slapped because of their time wasted on this childish crap.