Archive for October 11, 2021

Apple Wants A Flawless Victory In The Epic Games Fight

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 11, 2021 by itnerd

The title was a reference to the video game Mortal Kombat where if you beat an opponent without getting hit once, you earn a “flawless victory.” That’s now what Apple is looking for as it seems like it wasn’t enough that Apple largely won the lawsuit against Epic games. It wants a “flawless victory”:

On Friday night, Apple announced it would ask for a stay on a judge’s September order saying Apple would have to allow apps to direct customers to external websites. That ruling would let app businesses circumvent Apple’s requirement to facilitate payments only inside of apps, where Apple takes up to a 30% cut. Apple is also appealing the ruling. Because Epic Games is also appealing the nine counts it lost, it could take years before the case is resolved and Apple is forced to make any changes to iOS, the operating system for iPhones, as the two companies wrangle through the appeals process in court. The judge is expected to rule on Apple’s request for a stay next month.

Apple’s move is a surprising turnaround from its tone following the decision in September. While the company always left open the possibility of an appeal, it portrayed the judge’s ruling as a resounding legal win for its App Store business model, which has come under fire from technology rivals, international regulators and members of the U.S. Congress. “We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling and we consider this a huge win for Apple,” Kate Adams, Apple’s lawyer, said in September following the ruling. The Friday night announcement inspired a torrent of commentary from Apple critics. They pointed out the move would preserve Apple’s App Store profits by preventing apps from using alternative payment systems. One company announced last week that it was already working on a cheaper, web-based alternative to Apple’s app payments — a move made possible only by the ruling that Apple is now appealing.

Keep in mind that Apple lost one count in the Epic Games lawsuit and it was insanely trivial. Epic Games on the other hand got destroyed and it’s little wonder that they almost instantly appealed.

Having said that. though I am not a lawyer Apple raises some very interesting legal points. It seems to me a big part of the Apple argument is based on a legal principle that a court can only resolve an issue brought before it. In this case, the injured party which is Epic Games must show a harm to be remedied. Epic Games did not establish the harm that the judge’s ruling specifically addresses. So Apple is asking the trial judge to reconsider. But more importantly, I’d expect Apple to raise the same arguments much more strongly in the appeal that will ultimately be filed.