Judge orders Apple can't block Epic's Unreal Engine, Fortnite to remain banned

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 63
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    jungmark said:
    Since Epic did this to themselves , Apple should’ve been able to block all Epic software. Epic can resolve it by simply removing their violation. 
    And if Epic chooses to lose out on billions of dollars of revenue, that’s 100% on them.
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 63
    Apple should be.free to charge any percentage they see fit, or to not charge a perecentage and just charge every developer  £10,000 per app submission. The Apple way is the way that favours consumers, it has driven the price of software to the floor.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 63
    78Bandit78Bandit Posts: 238member
    The judge did not find that Apple was right, she just found that Epic could not definitively prove Apple was wrong.  She essentially said "keep things the way they are until the court can hear this at a trial."  She did the same thing for Epic; Apple can't terminate its developer account until after the courts hear the full case.  I wouldn't read too much into this either way.  The judge just kicked the can down the road and ensured consumers wouldn't be adversely affected until a final decision can be made.
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 44 of 63
    m05m05 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    So Apple won. 

    I think their Unreal engine ban was more an “Art of The Deal” type of thing. Overshoot the matter so that you get the actual main thing you want. 

    And it worked. 

    Epic got stupid and greedy and ended up getting nothing but an opportunity to put on a popcorn show. 

    All is well. 
    You mix things up here. It was the restraining order, not the main lawsuit.
    Epic asked the court to stop Apple from closing their access to the Apple developer tools, and the court agreed. So Epic (partially) won on the main point of this restraining order. (Partially because they would be able to close their developer account, just not remove access to the developer tools)
  • Reply 45 of 63
    larryjw said:
    This is a temporary restraining order. The criterion is irreparable harm while awaiting a decision on the merits.

    Losing money is almost never irreparable, since a money judgment will make you whole.

    The engine decision was equally easy. Third party licensees were placed in untenable positions by Apples decision. 
    One of the factors for a TRO is irreparable harm. But that isn't the only factor. There's also likelihood of success on the merits, balance of equities, and public interest.
  • Reply 46 of 63

    larryjw said:

    According to Reuters, Apple got blasted for its App Store policies in "terse" exchanges between the judge and Apple's lawyer:

    "During a terse exchange with Apple counsel Richard Doren at a hearing on Monday, the judge said she saw “no competition” to Apple’s App Store on the iPhone.

    “The question is, without competition, where does the 30% (App Store commission) come from? Why isn’t it 10? 20? How is the consumer benefiting?” she asked.

    Doren replied that consumers had choices when deciding to buy an Android device or an iPhone.

    “The competition is in the foremarket,” he said, reiterating an argument that has been central to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s defense during Congressional antitrust hearings.

    Gonzalez Rogers replied that there was “plenty of economic theory” to show that switching brands imposed costs on consumers.

    She at one point muted Doren in the virtual proceedings."


    Essentially the judge called Bull on what she sees as Apple's bullshit contention that the iPhone has not created a monopolistic market that it exploits with the App Store.
    My personal thoughts on it are that Apple needs to go beyond (or drop) its claim that it has not created any sort of monopoly and iPhone users are free to go over to Android and claim (correctly) that the Apple Store is an integral part of what makes the iPhone private, secure and stable.
    If the Reuter’s quote from the judge was accurate, she just took herself out of the proceeding. This was not a hearing on the merits, so she went outside of the facts necessary to make a TRO decision. 

    But, now the parties know an aspect of what the judge will want to hear when the merits come before her. Why is it 30% and not 20% or 10%? 
    It wasn't a hearing on the merits. But one of the Winter factors (for considering preliminary injunctions or TROs) is likelihood of success on the merits. So it's something a judge is supposed to consider when deciding whether to issue a TRO. The judge found that Epic hadn't established a likelihood of success on the merits, but that there were serious questions (when it came to the antitrust issue).
  • Reply 47 of 63
    Rayz2016 said:
    Interestingly negative take on the decision. 

    I agree that Apple shouldn’t have cut developer support for the Unreal Engine however, even if it was warranted. Harming your own customers is a dick move worthy of Epic. Apple shouldn’t be doing it. Hopefully the judge’s words have opened their eyes to this. 
    Apple is the one that was banning Epics developer accounts.   Epic didn't want that at all, its why Epic went to count to try and have Apple not ban their developer accounts, and Epics Unreal Engine.   The judge sided with Epic on that one, because it was a dick move on Apples part to try and go out of their way to punish and hurt Epic.   Try and remember Apple already banned Epics Fortnite app, so ask yourself this, why does Apple have to go too far?   Plus don't give us that cap that it was warranted, especially when its Apples rules and policies, that Apple has bent in the past for others and themselves in the past.
  • Reply 48 of 63
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,477member
    crowley said:
    Seems like the most reasonable judgement, and shuts up Microsoft

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games

    There aren't that many iOS games in here, and none that I want to play, but it won't do Apple any favours to cause collateral damage to a bunch of other developers.
    That's definitely not a complete list.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 63
    shaneg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Interestingly negative take on the decision. 

    I agree that Apple shouldn’t have cut developer support for the Unreal Engine however, even if it was warranted. Harming your own customers is a dick move worthy of Epic. Apple shouldn’t be doing it. Hopefully the judge’s words have opened their eyes to this. 
    Apple is the one that was banning Epics developer accounts.   Epic didn't want that at all, its why Epic went to count to try and have Apple not ban their developer accounts, and Epics Unreal Engine.   The judge sided with Epic on that one, because it was a dick move on Apples part to try and go out of their way to punish and hurt Epic.   Try and remember Apple already banned Epics Fortnite app, so ask yourself this, why does Apple have to go too far?   Plus don't give us that cap that it was warranted, especially when its Apples rules and policies, that Apple has bent in the past for others and themselves in the past.
    Apple has stated that the Epic SARL developer account shared the same credentials as the Epic developer account; Apple therefore treated both accounts as belonging to the same developer. When a developer violates the terms and conditions of the store, they are given a chance to rectify before being removed from the store. Epic (not Epic SARL) violated the terms and the app was banned, but Apple have publicly stated that if the violation is removed the app is welcome back in the store. Apple then looked more closely at all apps from the developer account and saw a number of additional violations, and chose to increase the penalty to block the developer account completely unless (or until) those violations were corrected.

    If the app in question was a piece of malware masquerading as a useful app, and the developer had multiple apps under multiple accounts, would you not want Apple to apply the same process?

    Please also recognise that no individual or organisation on this planet is capable of being 100% consistent with what they say they will do and what they actually do. A parent will apply the rules of the household on a child inconsistently, a business will serve customers inconsistently, even the judicial system will apply penalties inconsistently. There is plenty of evidence that Apple applies the rules consistently in the majority of cases, even while it occasionally treats some developers (and customers) differently. We hear about the "special" cases only because they are unusual; if everything was a special case then it wouldn't be worthy of attention.


    I think it's extremely interesting that the judge felt that after due consideration it was more in the public interest to allow continued development of the Unreal Engine for iOS while the case progresses. As mentioned in an earlier comment, this has implications for Apple's right to exclude certain behaviours from its store. It's quite a thorny argument; should an SDK developed by a third party always be exempted from the store rules if that same third party violates them? I expect Apple will be devoting a lot of attention to this situation and refining the policies applicable to third party SDKs.
    ronnRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 50 of 63
    larryjw said:
    This is a temporary restraining order. The criterion is irreparable harm while awaiting a decision on the merits.

    Losing money is almost never irreparable, since a money judgment will make you whole.

    The engine decision was equally easy. Third party licensees were placed in untenable positions by Apples decision. 
    I'm not so sure it was an easy decision on the Unreal Engine. And I strongly disagree with your final sentence - if we accept the stipulation than Epic violated the terms and conditions applied by Apple, and the assertion that Epic and Epic SARL shared the same developer credentials, then I'm hard-pressed to find Apple as the at-fault party for the situation that third party licensees find themselves in.

    If Apple as a matter of policy were to not try and identify "linked" developers and developer accounts, the situation could arise where the natural person(s) behind an egregious violation of the rules could perpetuate their behaviour indefinitely - similar to situations where, say, a furniture shop makes a number of sales, fails to deliver the promised goods, declares bankruptcy and then a new company beholden to the same natural person repeats the process.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 51 of 63

    Naiyas said:
    According to Reuters, Apple got blasted for its App Store policies in "terse" exchanges between the judge and Apple's lawyer:

    "During a terse exchange with Apple counsel Richard Doren at a hearing on Monday, the judge said she saw “no competition” to Apple’s App Store on the iPhone.

    “The question is, without competition, where does the 30% (App Store commission) come from? Why isn’t it 10? 20? How is the consumer benefiting?” she asked.

    Doren replied that consumers had choices when deciding to buy an Android device or an iPhone.

    “The competition is in the foremarket,” he said, reiterating an argument that has been central to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s defense during Congressional antitrust hearings.

    Gonzalez Rogers replied that there was “plenty of economic theory” to show that switching brands imposed costs on consumers.

    She at one point muted Doren in the virtual proceedings."


    Essentially the judge called Bull on what she sees as Apple's bullshit contention that the iPhone has not created a monopolistic market that it exploits with the App Store.
    My personal thoughts on it are that Apple needs to go beyond (or drop) its claim that it has not created any sort of monopoly and iPhone users are free to go over to Android and claim (correctly) that the Apple Store is an integral part of what makes the iPhone private, secure and stable.
    I agree with you on this.

    Just because there's "plenty of economic theory" to show that switching brands imposed costs on customers isn't an argument to open up the iPhone to more App Stores. There is a cost to the consumer to switch from Android to iPhone or PC to Mac and thousands of examples across a plethora of industries and consumer goods.

    My personal view is that 30% at the outset of the App Store may have been reasonable, but as with everything the market moves on and this level of "commission" is perhaps too high now that the store has been established and it's start up costs likely covered. 15% seems more realistic, especially as 15% is the "commission" rate for ALL subscription apps from year 2 onwards. This level should more than cover payment fees, bandwidth costs, hosting, development tools, etc.

    The biggest issue is what is the "cost" of providing App Store access to the mountain of free apps that pay nothing except the $99 annual developer fee?
    One of Apple's filings in the current court case lays out the argument that the 30% fee is not purely for payment processing but includes, for example, licensing fees for the IP present in a wide swathe of APIs. One possible reason for subscriptions to digital content being eligible for the lower rate is that the container for delivering that subscription content (an app) is utilising a smaller range of IP and gets updated less frequently thus requiring fewer administrative resources.

    Regardless, the rate itself is not the issue for this court case - that's a PR and marketing concern. The core issue is whether or not Apple can maintain a legal right to set its own rules for the store and levy fees for access based on its own decisions about how it runs its business. And Epic will discover just how different its perceptions are from reality.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 63
    "Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem," Rogers writes. "In this regard, the equities do weigh against Apple."

    Rogers in today's hearing said Apple's targeting of Epic International felt like a retaliatory measure. Apple's lawyers countered, saying that by maintaining separate accounts, Epic is able to play a "shell game" and shift blame for infringement whenever beneficial.

    "The public context in which this injury arises differs significantly: not only has the underlying agreement not been breached, but the economy is in dire need of increasing avenues for creativity and innovation, not eliminating them," the decision reads in reference to the Unreal Engine matter. "Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders. Certainly, during the period of a temporary restraining order, the status quo in this regard should be maintained."
    Let me guess, the number of updates shipped for the Unreal Engine on iOS for the duration of the entire case will be zero.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 53 of 63
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,870member
    According to Reuters, Apple got blasted for its App Store policies in "terse" exchanges between the judge and Apple's lawyer:

    "During a terse exchange with Apple counsel Richard Doren at a hearing on Monday, the judge said she saw “no competition” to Apple’s App Store on the iPhone.

    “The question is, without competition, where does the 30% (App Store commission) come from? Why isn’t it 10? 20? How is the consumer benefiting?” she asked.

    Doren replied that consumers had choices when deciding to buy an Android device or an iPhone.

    “The competition is in the foremarket,” he said, reiterating an argument that has been central to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s defense during Congressional antitrust hearings.

    Gonzalez Rogers replied that there was “plenty of economic theory” to show that switching brands imposed costs on consumers.

    She at one point muted Doren in the virtual proceedings."


    Essentially the judge called Bull on what she sees as Apple's bullshit contention that the iPhone has not created a monopolistic market that it exploits with the App Store.
    My personal thoughts on it are that Apple needs to go beyond (or drop) its claim that it has not created any sort of monopoly and iPhone users are free to go over to Android and claim (correctly) that the Apple Store is an integral part of what makes the iPhone private, secure and stable.

    Bullshit.

    Judges always talk like this - they play devil’s advocate. When questioning Apple they will appear in favor of Epic and when questioning Epic they would appear in favor of Apple.

    You pretending that Apple is in the wrong because of how the conversation went shows you don’t understand how this works, and are simply looking for anything to show Apple in a negative light.


    Obviously nothing of the sort!  (If you can read).
    1)  I represented fairly what the judge said.   And no, judges don't tend to play silly little games.
    2)  I didn't trash Apple.   I simply stated that, in my opinion, they need to drop the argument that they don't have a type of monopoly and shift instead to the more accurate and more defensible position that " the Apple Store is an integral part of what makes the iPhone private, secure and stable."

  • Reply 54 of 63
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Interestingly negative take on the decision. 

    Apple actually won (for now) on their main point: the judge agreed that Epic had engineered the situation themselves and that Apple says what goes on their store. You don’t sign a contract and then deliberately break it. 

    I agree that Apple shouldn’t have cut developer support for the Unreal Engine however, even if it was warranted. Harming your own customers is a dick move worthy of Epic. Apple shouldn’t be doing it. Hopefully the judge’s words have opened their eyes to this. 

    Apple never actually cut off developer support. They gave Epic a 14 day warning that they would terminate their accounts. Usually they just terminate immediately, so Epic was already being treated better than most developers.

    We don’t know if Apple would have gone through with termination of all accounts or just the one attached to Fortnite.
    Fair comment. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 63
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member
    m05 said:
    So Apple won. 

    I think their Unreal engine ban was more an “Art of The Deal” type of thing. Overshoot the matter so that you get the actual main thing you want. 

    And it worked. 

    Epic got stupid and greedy and ended up getting nothing but an opportunity to put on a popcorn show. 

    All is well. 
    You mix things up here. It was the restraining order, not the main lawsuit.
    Epic asked the court to stop Apple from closing their access to the Apple developer tools, and the court agreed. So Epic (partially) won on the main point of this restraining order. (Partially because they would be able to close their developer account, just not remove access to the developer tools)
    Well, I would have thought that from Apple's point of view, the main point was to prevent a possibly insecure payment system into their curated App Store, and they won. Epic will either stay off the App Store or fix the app to get back on.

    And if Epic carry out another jackass move by trying to move the code somewhere else, the Unreal engine for example, Apple can still block the updated apps that attempt to use it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 56 of 63
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member


    Naiyas said:
    According to Reuters, Apple got blasted for its App Store policies in "terse" exchanges between the judge and Apple's lawyer:

    "During a terse exchange with Apple counsel Richard Doren at a hearing on Monday, the judge said she saw “no competition” to Apple’s App Store on the iPhone.

    “The question is, without competition, where does the 30% (App Store commission) come from? Why isn’t it 10? 20? How is the consumer benefiting?” she asked.

    Doren replied that consumers had choices when deciding to buy an Android device or an iPhone.

    “The competition is in the foremarket,” he said, reiterating an argument that has been central to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s defense during Congressional antitrust hearings.

    Gonzalez Rogers replied that there was “plenty of economic theory” to show that switching brands imposed costs on consumers.

    She at one point muted Doren in the virtual proceedings."


    Essentially the judge called Bull on what she sees as Apple's bullshit contention that the iPhone has not created a monopolistic market that it exploits with the App Store.
    My personal thoughts on it are that Apple needs to go beyond (or drop) its claim that it has not created any sort of monopoly and iPhone users are free to go over to Android and claim (correctly) that the Apple Store is an integral part of what makes the iPhone private, secure and stable.
    I agree with you on this.

    Just because there's "plenty of economic theory" to show that switching brands imposed costs on customers isn't an argument to open up the iPhone to more App Stores. There is a cost to the consumer to switch from Android to iPhone or PC to Mac and thousands of examples across a plethora of industries and consumer goods.

    My personal view is that 30% at the outset of the App Store may have been reasonable, but as with everything the market moves on and this level of "commission" is perhaps too high now that the store has been established and it's start up costs likely covered. 15% seems more realistic, especially as 15% is the "commission" rate for ALL subscription apps from year 2 onwards. This level should more than cover payment fees, bandwidth costs, hosting, development tools, etc.

    The biggest issue is what is the "cost" of providing App Store access to the mountain of free apps that pay nothing except the $99 annual developer fee?
    One of Apple's filings in the current court case lays out the argument that the 30% fee is not purely for payment processing but includes, for example, licensing fees for the IP present in a wide swathe of APIs. One possible reason for subscriptions to digital content being eligible for the lower rate is that the container for delivering that subscription content (an app) is utilising a smaller range of IP and gets updated less frequently thus requiring fewer administrative resources.

    Regardless, the rate itself is not the issue for this court case - that's a PR and marketing concern. The core issue is whether or not Apple can maintain a legal right to set its own rules for the store and levy fees for access based on its own decisions about how it runs its business. And Epic will discover just how different its perceptions are from reality.
    Indeed. 
    And for the people who like to throw pie-in-the-sky figures on how much it costs to run the App Store, then here is another example of a cost that no one ever accounts for (me included): the licensing of third party APIs. Add that to the wages bill for the story editors, developers and reviewers that are working behind the scenes. On top of that, there is the cost of the actual download (yes, it is not free, especially if the downloads are hosted on a third-party), and the cost of hosting the store on Amazon/Microsoft servers.
    Most apps on the store are free, so Apple covers this cost and gets little back until folk subscribe. 

    Rather than making huge profits, I reckon the App Store is a shade over breaking even. (Oh, and remember that 70%+ of the sales is returned to the developers).


    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 57 of 63
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member
    I imagine Apple is considering if there's any way to meet folk halfway on this.

    I completely agree that they're correct in insisting on their own payment system, since the first case of fraud will undoubtedly land a multi-million dollar suit at their door.

    Perhaps though, there is some merit in adding an API framework that can make secure calls to third-party services. Developers could then use it to build their own payment services safely.

    The app would then display a page of warnings about using third-party services and then make sure that the user understands there is no comeback on Apple if things go wrong (covering any case of fraud or loss of personal data).

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 58 of 63
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member
    dysamoria said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Interestingly negative take on the decision. 

    Apple actually won (for now) on their main point: the judge agreed that Epic had engineered the situation themselves and that Apple says what goes on their store. You don’t sign a contract and then deliberately break it. 

    I agree that Apple shouldn’t have cut developer support for the Unreal Engine however, even if it was warranted. Harming your own customers is a dick move worthy of Epic. Apple shouldn’t be doing it. Hopefully the judge’s words have opened their eyes to this. 
    👍🏽 I came here to say these same things... though I don’t agree that it was warranted for Apple to cut developer support for Unreal Engine. That just hurts everyone: Epic, Apple, third-party developers, probably customers of all three...

    Yes, from what I'm reading, there was an infraction in the developer enterprise accounts, so it was warranted. Apple pulled the Facebook accounts for the same reason.

    So while I think it was warranted, I don't think it was a good idea. However, someone else has pointed out that they hadn't actually done it yet.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 59 of 63
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,827member
    2)  I didn't trash Apple.   I simply stated that, in my opinion, they need to drop the argument that they don't have a type of monopoly and shift instead to the more accurate and more defensible position that " the Apple Store is an integral part of what makes the iPhone private, secure and stable."


    Actually, the judge disagreed with you:

    Based on a review of the current limited record before the Court, the Court cannot conclude that Epic has met the high  burden of demonstrating a likelihood of success on the merits, especially in the antitrust context

    What the judge understands is that you cannot penalise companies for being successful. 

    You cannot decide that a component in a product is a monopoly simply because the product becomes too successful.

    You cannot tell McDonalds that it must allow Burger King to set up kiosks in every McDs restaurants.

    What the judge is telling them that if they want to force their app store into the App Store then the antitrust approach is not going to work; they're going to have to try something else.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 60 of 63
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,512moderator
    Rayz2016 said:
    I imagine Apple is considering if there's any way to meet folk halfway on this.

    I completely agree that they're correct in insisting on their own payment system, since the first case of fraud will undoubtedly land a multi-million dollar suit at their door.

    Perhaps though, there is some merit in adding an API framework that can make secure calls to third-party services. Developers could then use it to build their own payment services safely.

    The app would then display a page of warnings about using third-party services and then make sure that the user understands there is no comeback on Apple if things go wrong (covering any case of fraud or loss of personal data).
    Third-party payment services are usually messy, requiring inputting credit card details for each one with verification codes per payment or having separate accounts with them. Having to do that while walking around and for IAPs would be crazy. They could require Apple Pay support but I still don't see why they should volunteer to allow the wealthiest companies that succeed on their store to not give them any money to support the store. Tim Sweeney's email to them just sounded ridiculous:



    Particularly the point about their own App Store. They know full well Apple restricted software for security. That entire email just reads like "we don't want to pay you anything". That's just plain arrogance and for suing them for not agreeing, they deserve an outright ban. Apple even let Epic demo Fortnite at their keynote years ago.

    They wouldn't dare write an email like that to Nintendo to make a competing store on the Switch and not pay them.

    Sweeney is now following up with tweets about Apple News redirection and how the internet wouldn't have come about with App Store restrictions because browsers wouldn't be allowed:

    https://twitter.com/TimSweeneyEpic

    That could be compared to the situation with Flash. Apple didn't allow it on mobile and it eventually died (but was still available on other platforms). Everybody is better off because of it. The internet is now more standards-compliant and accessible than ever because Apple pushed for the open HTML5 standard. If it was left open, Flash would still be around today and people would be having updates for their Flash mobile plugins all the time because of security issues.

    Apple's restrictions have made for a better mobile user experience. We had stores and 3rd party installs on mobile before. Windows mobile for example and it was a mess. After a few years people get selective memory loss about what things were like before. Apple invented usable mobile browsing, the one-tap app install/uninstall wasn't a thing before iOS.

    There's some merit to the concerns over dominant platforms and their services. Apple restricting game streaming services or apps that run dynamic code to allow learning coding. You couldn't run the Unreal Editor or Unity on iOS for example and build apps on it. But there are many competing dominant platforms that are easily accessible to do those kind of things. It can't be expected that every platform offers all the capabilities and openness of every other platform. I don't recall Nokia, Blackberry, Palm and so on allowing anything and everything on their platforms, maybe they did but it certainly wouldn't be considered a requirement.

    I don't see what positive outcome Epic thinks they'll ever get from this. They are just souring a business relationship long-term for nothing. The court can't force Apple to allow installing insecure software and that's what Epic wants. Maybe they can force competing payment options but I don't see how they can justify that. Apple has every right to monetize their store just like every other store operator.
    ronnqwerty52watto_cobra
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