Epic's UK App Store lawsuit shut down by competition court

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 22
Epic Games has failed in its attempt to bring its Apple App Store legal dispute to the United Kingdom, with the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling the dispute is outside its jurisdiction.




On January 14, Epic Games attempted to increase the pressure against Apple by filing a complaint against the iPhone maker in the United Kingdom. A complaint filed with the U.K. antitrust tribunal claimed it was unlawful for Apple to pull "Fortnite" from the App Store, and that Apple abused its "dominant position."

In a ruling issued on Monday, the Competition Appeal Tribunal declared it wasn't able to hear the case at all. Justice Roth, presiding over the virtual hearing that took place on Saturday, used the meeting to determine whether the court has any right to make a decision on the matter at all.

Epic's legal action was against two of Apple's organizations, covering Apple Inc. based in the United States, and Apple (UK) Limited. While the former is Apple itself, the latter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of its US counterpart.

Epic reasoned that the UK arm of Apple was a defendant alongside the US-based version as it "provides support to UK developers of apps."

The claims of anti-competitive practices by Apple included the usual accusation that Apple was the sole channel for app distribution on iOS, that it used a dominant position to charge "unfair prices" for distribution, and Apple's response to Epic's sudden introduction of its own payment mechanism as "price competition."

Ultimately, Justice Roth decided that Apple's UK company provides services, but it was "not a party" to developer agreements, nor responsible for which apps made it into the App Store at all. "I find it difficult on this basis to see that (Apple UK) can be liable for any of the breaches of competition law alleged," the court determined.

"Therefore I find there is no serious issue to be tried as against A2 (Apple UK), and it follows that the claim against A1 (Apple US) does not satisfy gateway 3," the court added. Gateway 3 refers to whether a claim is being made against a "necessary or proper party," which it deemed the UK company was not.

As the court has jurisdiction over the UK arm but not the US version, and that Apple UK ultimately wasn't responsible for the actions and decisions of Apple US, the court could not rightfully hear the case.

"In the Apple action, the application for permission to serve the proceedings on A1 out of the jurisdiction is refused," the final judgment reads.

While the legal action between Epic and Apple ends in the UK, it's not the same story for Google, another target of the same complaint. For some elements of Epic's complaint, the court granted permission for Epic to continue its action against Google.

The attempted lawsuit is the latest in Epic's attempt to force Apple to change its policies regarding the App Store. This has included demands for Apple to allow alternative payment mechanisms to exist for in-app purchases beyond its own system, and a reduction of the 30% "Apple Tax."

Epic has also requested for Apple to allow third-party app stores to exist on iOS, which would provide an opportunity for the Epic Games Store to sell iOS games.

Other lawsuits and complaints have been filed by Epic, including an antitrust complaint with the European Union, an ongoing suit in the United States, and filings with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

It was revealed in February that the entire situation was premeditated by Epic Games. The company spent months working on the plan and preparing a 60-page lawsuit and parody video before springing its alternative payment mechanism on Apple, in what it internally called "Project Liberty."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    LMAO!!!! Great!!! 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,562member
    Epic will eventually come crawling back to the iOS App Store to resume business as usual. Would Apple be within its rights to simply ban Epic altogether for its scurrilous actions against the company. I sincerely hope for a Psystar type collapse of their cases.
    davgregwilliamlondondewmeolswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Good news.
    Epic and Facebook can go pound sand.

    williamlondonolswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,897member
    lkrupp said:
    Epic will eventually come crawling back to the iOS App Store to resume business as usual. Would Apple be within its rights to simply ban Epic altogether for its scurrilous actions against the company. I sincerely hope for a Psystar type collapse of their cases.
    I hope so. I cannot imagine that Epic's legal expenses, loss of revenue, and damaged reputation is in any way defensible to their stakeholders. It's time for them to cut their losses and quit this fantastical nonsense. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,033member
    If this is so harmful to Epic’s business model then, by all means, they should to pull their games from the App Store.  That’ll teach bad old Apple.  Or not.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 10
    this is totally stupid! one person make the cake and when the cake is wanted by many then someone else come in and ask for pieces of cakes too.  why should apple let you run a third party App Store?  not to mention why you want to do that because if that happen, it will be harder to keep security safe and more danger to the customer as a whole.  epic just selfish and want money that's not belong to them. if you don't like the way apple works then take your business elsewhere. you can become like google, create a totally new OS for people to choose from.  why are you cry woof when there is no woof?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    I'm 100% on Apple's side, and I don't want Epic to cave, but I would really like Epic to win somewhere, so we can see what Apple's strategy would be.

    For example, let's say that in Monaco, which is a very small country, the courts rules that Apple cannot charge anything for any third party apps, and must open up third party app stores. What do you think Apple would do? Would it change its practices world-wide, or would it simply stop selling phones and apps in Monaco? Probably the latter.

    This is probably why Epic is (apparently) suing only in big countries, not small ones. Because Epic knows what Apple will do if Epic wins in a small jurisdiction. Even if Epic wins, it still can't get its way, because Apple will pull out of that country (either the App Store or maybe the entire iPhone business.)

    In order for Epic to win, it needs a tectonic shift in the attitudes of lawmakers around the world. A small win here or there won't cut it. Epic needs Apple to cave, and the only way Apple might cave is if major nations ban Apple's exclusive control of its App Store.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,284member
    There are two ways I see Apple’s relationship with developers. Since they are very active in managing, maintaining the relationship and support for apps on their store, they are more like limited partners with the developers. Another view is that they are vendors and Apple is the store like an Amazon. I can setup a recurring grocery order from Amazon to deliver food to me using their website on a subscription model. Would anyone argue that they should be forced to allow a competitor to open a store on their website and sell competing goods or even decide what they sell their goods for. That makes no sense at all. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Basically they're just shopping around the case to any English-speaking court rooms. If they were legitimately interested in "helping developers" they would be trying to make their case in various countries throughout Asia and India.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 10
    I find it hard for Epic to argue Apple has “unfair charges” for distribution when they are the same on every other platform including console in app purchases. 
    watto_cobra
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