According to Bloomberg, the bank attempt is between Epic and Apple took an unexpected turn when the judge overseeing the fight in the courtroom said she had an idea for a compromise that could solve one of the game developer’s biggest problems: app developers could tell users they had other options outside of the App Store. However, the economists of both companies were not ready to give the idea the green light.
As a bank attempt, the final decision is made by the judge instead of a jury. The judge in this case, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, has dealt extensively with the so-called “Apple Tax” or the 30% of in-app purchases that Apple sees as a reduction in such transactions. Game and app developers who sell their goods in the App Store are not allowed to use any other in-app payment platform outside of Apple.
Epic has developed its own in-app payment system for purchasing V-Bucks which is used by those who play Epic’s successful Fortnite game. However, since this violated Apple’s regulations, Apple removed the game from the App Store. Judge Gonzalez Rogers also noted that Apple does not allow developers to include in their apps a link or other information that users send to another store where they can make in-app purchases at a reduced price.
The judge overseeing Epic against Apple has an idea for a compromise
If Apple gives its developer partners and customers no choice, the company can be viewed as a monopoly and punished accordingly. On Wednesday, the judge asked Apple’s expert, the economist Richard Schmalensee: “What’s so bad about consumers having a choice?” Schmalensee replied that opening the App Store’s in-app payment platform would lead to a decrease in the App Store’s “revenue flow”.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers asked Epic’s economist David Evans, “If Apple didn’t have these rules, would the problem be solved?” Evans replied, “That wouldn’t eliminate the market power Apple has here, but it would certainly reduce it. It wouldn’t be a good solution at all,” he said for apps and games that don’t have an alternative pay platform like Epic .
In addition to Epic, other companies have complained about Apple’s 30% tax, including music streamer Spotify, video streamer Netflix, and dating app developer Match.