The Epic vs Apple trial is over, and US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has effectively changed the App Store forever. But that doesn't mean Apple violated any antitrust law.
In an expansive 185-page ruling, Judge Rogers details specifics on Epic's claims and Apple's counterclaims in the industry-defining trial. The court finds that Apple isn't in violation of antitrust law and isn't a monopoly. Apple did, however, break provisions set forth in the California Unfair Competition Law, which has led to a permanent injunction forcing Apple to allow developers to redirect consumers to buy content outside of the App Store and potentially avoid its costly 30% commission.
The court says that while Apple's "conduct falls within the purview of an incipient antitrust violation with particular anticompetitive practices which have not been justified" (essentially Apple was showing early signs of antitrust by keeping consumers in the dark about its 30% commission and prohibiting third-party payment methods), that Epic Games overreached with its antitrust claims.
Judge Rogers claims that the games industry is "ripe for exploitation" but indicates some of Epic's complaints were premature. If Epic had brought more evidence then the courts may have declared Apple in violation of antitrust law.
"This trial highlighted that "big tech" encompasses many markets, including as relevant here, the submarket for mobile gaming transactions. This lucrative, $100 billion, market has not been fully tapped and is ripe for economic exploitation," Judge Gonzalez Rogers wrote.
"As a major player in the wider video gaming industry, Epic Games brought this lawsuit to challenge Apple's control over access to a considerable portion of this submarket for mobile gaming transactions.
"Ultimately, Epic Games overreached. As a consequence, the trial record was not as fulsome with respect to antitrust conduct in the relevant market as it could have been."
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