The year-long slogfest between Epic Games and Apple appears to have finally concluded. After filing a lawsuit in August of 2020, a judge has just taken Epic's side. As a result, Apple faces an injunction that will give it no choice but to give developers of App Store apps alternative third-party purchasing options. However, as with any other legal battle involving two behemoths in any industry, things are never straightforward.
Epic v Apple ends in a win-win situation for both companies
Earlier this year, the Epic v Apple trial ended with no potential winner in sight. Fast forward to today, and it appears that both Apple and Epic Games can walk away knowing that they each notched themselves a win.
In particular, Epic can celebrate knowing that it has forced Apple's hands to make changes to its strict implementation regarding purchases made via its App Store. Because of this, from December 9 and onwards, Apple will have to let developers use alternative payment methods for all the apps listed on its App Store.
However, Epic didn't exactly win everything. Even if the ruling will have the most impact on Apple, Judge Gonzales-Rogers was against Epic Games' claims of Apple's near-monopoly.
With that said, the decision will benefit developers the most. Because of Epic's brave stand against Apple, other developers can sell content outside of Apple's App Store even if their app is listed on the said platform. Of course, it remains up to Apple to approve the listing of a particular company's app. But, given how denying Epic from re-listing Fortnite, as well as others from doing the same thing, could result in another potential lawsuit, Apple will want to stay on the good side of the law going forward.
Speaking of, the Epic v Apple trial revealed a lot of details about each company. For example, we found out that Apple made a killing when Fortnite was still on the App Store. Of the nearly $1.2 billion in revenue Fortnite generated on the App Store, $100 million went to Apple as a "transaction fee". This was partly what fueled Epic to file a lawsuit against Apple for being a monopolist.
In the end, despite the win, it appears that Epic failed to try and prove its case to further its cause. According to the ruling, there is evidence that suggests that "Apple is near the precipice of substantial market power, or monopoly power, with its considerable market share." However, "because [Epic] did not focus on this topic," the ruling argued that Epic should also pay Apple damages for trying to get around the company's in-app purchasing rules.
Interestingly enough, Epic is refusing to pay for the "damages" which reportedly amount to $3.5 million. Instead, Epic has filed an appeal and called on a higher court. Epic definitely wants to push for more rights for itself and other developers as it wishes to overturn Friday's ruling.