“The battle for the regulation of app stores will continue”

Chronic. Friday, September 10, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ended a soap opera over a year by settling the dispute between Epic Games and Apple. IPhone maker praised for winning big: Northern District Court of California dismissed nine of ten claims from popular game publisher Fortnite. However, the substance of the matter – the conditions of use of the “App Stores” – is far from being exhausted. The battle for the regulation of these application stores that allow users to install new software on their phones with, at the end of the day, a 15 to 30% commission on transactions for Apple, Google or Amazon, will continue. . This debate is justified, because the importance of “App Stores”, already large, will grow in the future.

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Apple was pleased that the judge did not consider the company’s monopoly on transactions in mobile games (such as virtual dollar purchases in the game) to be proven. Fortnite to pay for weapons or accessories). But this did not rule out that Apple’s dominant position could be demonstrated in future proceedings. It also ordered the iPhone manufacturer to allow developers to offer users to make purchases with links or buttons to their own site. They thus avoid the Apple payment system, and the associated commission.

Above all, Epic has appealed. He claims the right to use his payment system directly in the app, like Apple does, and claims the right to offer his own store. In addition, the inventor of this popular online fighting game has filed a similar lawsuit against Google, which equips Android phones with its own store, Google Play. It is supported by other developers, such as Tinder or Deezer, united in the Coalition for App Fairness.

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In addition, Apple will still have to defend its application store in a lawsuit filed by users gathered in class action in the USA. And the US Department of Justice is studying the possibility of opening an antitrust investigation.

Stratospheric margins

In Europe, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager accused Apple on April 30 of “Distort competition” in the distribution of music applications. According to the complaint filed by Spotify, the iPhone maker is promoting its own applications, such as Apple Music, which are exempt from commission. The British competition authority also opened an investigation in March. In France, advertising players and the start-up association France digitale have filed complaints with the Competition Authority and the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties: according to them, Apple sells advertising in its store , without submitting to the rules imposed on other developers.

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