Sherlock and Watson, peanut butter and jelly, Netflix and chill. Since 2008, Apple has created that sort of inextricable link between its iPhones and its App Store. The company’s “there’s an app for that” ad campaign drew millions of people, who over the years have bought more than a billion iPhones. And since the App Store was the only place to get programs for the iPhone, millions of developers flocked to Apple too. Now the tech giant is facing questions about Fortnite maker Epic Games and Epic’s lawsuit alleging an abuse of power., forced into the topic by
On Monday, Apple will face off against Epic in a California courtaround payment processing and commissions. In short: Apple demands app developers use its payment processing whenever selling in-app digital items, like a new look for a Fortnite character or a celebratory dance move to perform after a win.
The iPhone maker says that using its payment processing setup guarantees security and fairness, and iton those sales in part to help run its App Store. Epic, however, says Apple’s policies are monopolistic and its commissions too high.
On its surface, the lawsuit reads like a corporate slap fight about who gets how much money when we all buy stuff in apps. But the outcome of this case could change everything we know not just about the App Store, but about how mobile transactions work on other platforms like the Google Play store. It could invite further scrutiny from lawmakers, who are already looking at whether companies like Apple and Google wield too much power.
“This is the frontier of antitrust law,” said David Olson, an associate professor who teaches about antitrust at the Boston College Law School…Read more>>