🚧 Project Liberty Initiated. In Early 2017, Epic Games Co-Founder & CEO, Tim Sweeney questioned the 30 percent revenue sharing cut implied by different app stores in the market! In Mid 2020, he told his tech team to write a code that would help bypass the revenue sharing system. This would help them generate the full amount from in-app purchases. But as Sweeney suspected, this backfired and both Apple & Google decided to throw Fortnite out of their app stores for violation of policy.
⚔️ The Epic Battle Royale
⚖️ The Lawsuit. Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple for antitrust & anti-competitive behavior. They said that Apple’s practices around the App Store and its payment system were in violation of the Federal Sherman Act & the California Cartwright Act. In reply, Apple filed a countersuit against Epic Games for breaching its contract and violating the app store policy. The bench trial which was agreed by both parties was set to be conducted in May 2021. Facebook, the hero in shining blue armor came for Epic’s rescue & promised to support them completely in the trial.
A trial of 3 weeks has hence commenced – starting 3rd May and shall go on till 24th May!
🧱 A Walled Garden. Epic gave a strong opening statement where it painted Apple as a monopolist that is ‘cooking a plan’ to lure software developers & customers into the iOS ecosystem. It plans to lock them in with restrictive rules and T&C. They also contended that Apple should be forced to open up its ‘walled garden’ to alternative options, such as allowing ‘other pp stores’ and ‘payment options’ besides its own.
“The garden could have a door. It was artificially closed.” – Epic’s lawyer Forrest.
📧 The Lost Email. Epic also shed light on an email in which Steve Jobs expressed his desire – “tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem.”
🔒 Apple played the privacy card. In their opening statement, they painted Epic Games as an opportunist looking to cut costs with a court case that could destroy iOS. It might also endanger consumers by forcing harmful & malicious apps onto their phones. Apple pointed out the reason why customers choose Apple over Android – in Android, there are other ways to install apps! But many of them prefer keeping their digital experiences within a carefully controlled ‘walled garden.’
Epic is “asking us to remove our competitive advantage,” Apple lawyer Dunn said. “Epic wants us to be Android, but we don’t want to be.”
💰 The $100B App Store. Apple pointed out the huge investment of billions they put in to build the IOS ecosystem and how Epic wants to freeload off it. Also, evidence was provided where Epic is comfortable paying a 30% commission to other gaming consoles like Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox & Nintendo’s Switch. This comprises about $10.5B of the $13.1B in revenue that Fortnite has brought into Epic the game’s release in 2017.
🤷 What Happened on Day 1? Civilians who were allowed to listen to the trial by dialing a number ended up unmuting themselves causing a lot of chaos. Someone even started playing Travis Scott in between the trial! Not the trial Epic Games would have ever imagined. :p
🧐 Can Epic Games even win this trial? Even though they are fighting against a trillion-dollar company, there is a slight chance that Epic Games might win this trial. However proving that Apple is a monopoly will not be enough, since that alone is not illegal under U.S. law. Instead, Epic must show that Apple abuses that alleged monopoly power to hurt competitors and distort an entire market in its favor. And it is a high bar to clear. Stay tuned in for more updates!
If Epic Games wins, Apple might have to allow “other app stores” to be installed on IOS which might lead to losses amounting to $200B.
💣 Taxes – A Certain Death – Crazy Tax Story
Two things that you cannot avoid- death & taxes.
A plan was made by the treasury department of the US in anticipation of a nuclear attack, and the destruction, confusion, and chaos that’d follow. The IRS had put into motion “A Design of an Emergency Tax System.”