Apple to argue it does face competition in video games amid Epic lawsuit

Epic’s case is around the idea that Apple’s iPhones represent their own distinct market for software developers and the company has monopoly power over that market

Apple is planning to argue that it faces lots of competition in the video game transactions market in order to defend itself against antitrust allegations by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games.

Last year Apple was sued by Epic in a California federal court, alleging the 15 per cent to 30 per cent commissions that Apple charges for the use of its in-app payment systems and Apple’s practice of exercising control over which apps can be installed on its devices is anticompetitive behaviour. 

The disagreement arose after Epic tried to use its own in-app payment system in the popular “Fortnite” game and as a result Apple ended up banning the game from its App Store.

The case is to be heard in May in Oakland, California, by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will have to decide on which notion of a “market” is the correct one for looking at Apple’s moves for signs of anticompetitive conduct.

Epic’s case is around the idea that Apple’s iPhones, with a base of more than 1 billion users, represent their own distinct market for software developers and the company has monopoly power over that market because it decides how users can install software on the devices.

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Due to that Epic says Apple abuses that power by forcing developers to deliver their software through the App Store, where developers are subject to fees on some transactions.

Apple said it plans to argue that consumers have many choices on how to carry out video game transactions. 

This includes purchasing virtual tokens from game developers on other platforms such as Windows PCs and using the tokens on iPhones with no charges to the game developer.

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