Monday December 4, 2023

Apple, Epic Make Final Arguments, Await Verdict

  • Apple and Epic Games finished closing arguments in their antitrust trial in Oakland.
  • The verdict, which could come in mid-August, could have big implications for the App Store.
Fortnite/Design: Alex Brooks
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The fate of the App Store now rests with one judge in Oakland, California.

Apple and Epic Games, maker of “Fortnite,” wrapped up their closing arguments on Monday before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. It could take months before a verdict is rendered.

The case could have massive implications for the $100 billion iPhone app market, and last week brought Tim Cook to the witness stand for the first time as Apple CEO. 

Over the course of the trial, it was revealed that:

  • “Fortnite” alone brought in $9 billion in revenue over 2018 and 2019, and Epic made over $5.5 billion in profit during that period.
  • Epic CEO Tim Sweeney indicated that the company made $5.1 billion in gross revenue in 2020.

Still, the game maker is relatively tiny in the fight against Apple, which posted $89.6 billion in revenue for the fiscal quarter ending March 27 and has a market value of $2.1 trillion.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers appeared open to Epic’s notion that Apple’s store is a market unto itself, as opposed to one player in a competition with Google, Samsung, and others.

The verdict, which Judge Gonzalez Rogers hopes to deliver in mid-August, could force Apple to allow alternate payment systems or even rival app stores on its devices.

However, Gonzalez Rogers also seemed unwilling to fully buy into Epic’s case, noting a lack of precedent for courts changing the business models of monopolistic companies.

Antitrust cases like the one it is bringing have historically favored the defendant.

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