Home Business Behind the loss of Apple’s market value of 500 billion a day: the store bullies its customers, or pretends to be a pig and eat a tiger? -Apple App Store/Music/TV/News/Podcast

Behind the loss of Apple’s market value of 500 billion a day: the store bullies its customers, or pretends to be a pig and eat a tiger? -Apple App Store/Music/TV/News/Podcast

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On the other hand, for Epic, the court ruled that the alternative payment system implemented by Epic in “Fortnite” violated its contract with Apple. Epic will have to pay 30% of its subsequent income-about 3.5 million U.S. dollars as compensation. gold.

This result shocked the industry. In Apple’s payment system, the IAP system (in-App Purchase), 30% of developer income will be directly collected by Apple, which is also known as “Apple tax.” If App developers can direct users to third-party payment systems other than IAP, Apple’s revenue will be greatly reduced.

Because Epic Games previously announced evidence that App Store accounted for 78% of Apple’s profit in 2019.

So Apple lost about 84.3 billion U.S. dollars (approximately 543.2 billion yuan) in one trading day. They announced that this was a victory judgment, and they had to respond. Internally, they will analyze the impact of this ruling on Apple’s future financial affairs. .

Judge Rogers’s ban will take effect on December 9. At this point, this two-year war finally came to an end: It can be understood that neither Epic nor Apple won.

1 Is Apple a monopoly?

Specifically, Judge Rogers concluded that although Epic’s accusation of “Apple’s restrictions on payment channels” is a market monopoly, the judging criteria for whether Apple engages in monopoly behavior is: the “market” should be a “digital mobile game transaction (system )” instead of targeting a certain game or Apple’s own App Store, so there is no factual and legal basis to determine that Apple has engaged in a monopoly.

Even if Apple has more than 55% of the market share and very high profit margins, they have not violated state or federal antitrust laws at all.

On the other hand, Epic violated the terms of the contract with Apple and engaged in its own payment channel without saying hello to others. This is a breach of contract. Epic has to compensate Apple for 30% of its breach of contract revenue.

Moreover, even if Apple’s 30% platform percentage seems unreasonable, there are no alternatives that can compete with it, and this percentage cannot be regulated.

However, Apple has nothing to be proud of.

Judge Rogers believes that Apple’s prohibition of other parties from providing payment channels is a violation of the “California Anti-Unfair Competition Act.” In this regard, the court issued a permanent injunction against Apple, and Apple needs to lift the app against the App within 90 days. Store payment control, each manufacturer has the right to provide consumers with other payment channels. And this means that Apple’s current rake policy may be reasonably circumvented in the future.

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It needs to be emphasized here that “monopoly” and “unfair competition” are two different things. They cannot be equated, and the judgments are different.

In response to this judgment, relevant people said that Judge Rogers’ decision was somewhat “fragmented”, and the current follow-up impact remains to be seen.

Regarding the monopoly on the Apple App Store, it has never stopped. Just half a month ago, Apple had just reached a $100 million settlement agreement with the developers in the class action and made a series of updates to the App Store.

It is mentioned in the settlement agreement that developers can introduce users to their purchase options outside of the iOS App. For example, developers can use communication methods such as email to share information about payment methods other than iOS App with users, but the relevant communication must be With the user’s consent, and the user has the right to opt out. At the same time, App developers still cannot directly inform users of how to purchase outside the App in the App.

Apple also has a small business plan. Developers with annual income of less than $1 million will enjoy a 15% rake rate, and 30% for developers with an annual income of less than $1 million. This plan will remain unchanged for at least the next three years.

Apple also announced the launch of the “News Partner Program.” To participate in this program, news organizations must provide users with access to the content they publish on Apple News using the Apple News Format (Apple News format). Participating organizations only need to pay a 15% commission for qualified subscriptions in their news apps. Generally, subscription apps are required to pay 30% of the “Apple Tax” in the first year, and the “Apple Tax” will be reduced to 15% after the second year.

After the verdict of Epic and Apple’s lawsuit, it is still unknown whether Apple will be questioned and challenged by other developers.

2 Not good for anyone

The war between Epic and Apple can be traced back to August last year.

At that time, Epic directly introduced its own payment channel in “Fortress Night”, bypassing the Apple App Store, and then “Fortress Night” was removed from the shelves, and Apple also threatened to terminate the use of the Epic Games Unreal Engine platform. Developer account support. Immediately Epic sued Apple, saying that Apple violated antitrust laws.

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The two are not vegetarians. Apple threatened to delete Epic’s developer account in the Apple ecosystem. Epic immediately sought legal means to fight for rights and interests. Apple asked Epic to lose money for breach of contract.

On May 4, 2021, the lawsuit between Epic and Apple officially opened, and the two sides debated on the App Store payment rules and whether it constitutes an antitrust.

Now this verdict is not a good thing for both parties.

It should be noted that the court did not require Apple to restore the listing of “Fortnite”, and this game is very important to Epic, accounting for 98% of its revenue.

After the verdict was announced, an Apple spokesperson said that Apple has not violated the antitrust law and will continue to work on the construction and improvement of the App Store.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, said that this verdict is not a victory for developers and consumers. Epic told the media that it plans to appeal.

As soon as the incident came out, there were many voices in the public.

An industry insider told Leifeng.com: “Epic still wants to reduce costs by introducing third-party payments.”

For Epic, although it has to lose money, some developers believe that “In a sense, as long as I don’t have to pay Apple money, I basically win.”

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, once said that if Apple offered him a special agreement to reduce App Store commissions and fees, he would accept this special deal. But Apple will not accept this proposal, because once the opening of Epic Games, it means that Apple’s more than 10 years of App Store operating rules and publicly broke it, it will inevitably lead to a chain reaction of other developers, and may completely destroy the App Store. Commercial barriers carefully constructed for a long time.

3 The point of contention is: Is “Fortnite” a game?

The antitrust case between Epic and Apple has sparked a rather amusing debate over several weeks. Epic wants to prove that “Fortress Night” is a “metaworld”, or an experience, not a game. Apple wants to prove that Epic is an almost exclusively game-related company, and that the App Store maintains a consistent user-friendly policy to distinguish “apps” from “games.” It also wants to defend the “store in store” ban on iOS.

Roblox blurs the line between large social games and game engines or sales platforms. Roblox believes that what they are launching is a personal experience created by users. Developers can sell items in these experiences, and some mature game studios use Roblox instead of Unity or Unreal engines. But all these buying behaviors, or experience behaviors, occur in a Roblox app, not in a series of independently packaged games.

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Apparently, Apple is concerned about this ambiguity. In an email in 2017, Apple’s marketing director Trystan Kosmynka said he was “surprised” that Roblox was approved for the App Store. The email pointed out that although App Store reviewers raised some concerns in 2014, Roblox was approved without addressing these issues. Epic raised this decision again in court and hopes to challenge the review process of the Apple App Store.

Conversely, Kosmynka believes that neither Roblox nor its user-built projects should be defined as games. He said in his testimony: “If you think of a game or application, you will find that the game is very dynamic. The game has a beginning and an end, and there are challenges in it. I think the experience in Roblox is similar to that in Minecraft. The experience is similar.” In addition, he also said that the reason why Apple regards Roblox as an app rather than a game is because the company uses this label in the App Store, although this does not seem to be accurate.

A few days after this debate, the “games” created and managed by creators on Roblox through the editor were previously classified under the label “Games” on the website. At that time, the label card was changed to “Experience”. . Almost the entire Roblox website, the word “game” has been replaced by “experience”.

Whether Roblox is a game is closely related to whether “Fortnite” is a game. Since “Fortnite” has been removed, should Roblox itself be allowed to be used on the iOS App Store?

For this debate, Judge Rogers also spent “a considerable amount of time” decomposing the core elements of video games and defining them: video games involve many unique types, which are connected through participation and interaction with players.

“Games need to have a certain degree of interaction and participation between players and media. Players have to input instructions and choices in the game, and these behaviors can also be reflected in the game itself, which is also different from other forms of entertainment, because the participants Generally speaking, they are passively accepted.”

Although the CEO of Epic has been saying that “Fortnite” belongs to the meta-universe category, the judge believes that from all aspects, at least from the perspective of game marketing, “Fortnite” is itself a game. This is also the conclusion given by this judgment so far.

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