Epic Games makes solid arguments that Apple is a monopoly | Cult of Mac

Epic Games makes solid arguments that Apple is a monopoly

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Monopoly board game
Maybe Apple really is a monopoly.
Photo: Kathy Marsh/Unsplash CC

At the core of Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple is the assertion that the iPhone-maker has a monopoly. With testimony from an expert witness, the game developer has begun laying out its arguments to convince the judge why she should agree.

Essentially, it claims that switching from iPhone to another device is so difficult that Apple can treat its users as if they had no other options.

Epic Games is trying convince Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that Apple’s rule that all iPhone software has to be sold through the App Store makes it a monopolist. If the company succeeds,  then it’ll have justification for its claims that major changes need to be made to the App Store.

Adi Robertson from The Verge tweeted Monday during the trial, giving an up-to-the-minute account of the proceedings.

Expert witness claims Apple is a monopoly

A key witness called Monday in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit was David Evans, chairman of Global Economics Group. He submitted pre-trial testimony, and agrees that Apple is a monopolist.

People refuting that claim point out that Epic Games’ own Fortnite can be played on game consoles, so the iPhone-maker can’t have monopolistic control. Evans argues that phones and game consoles are inherently different things. They can’t be competitors.

But Apple and others say Android is a competitor. After Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store, any dedicated fan could have bought an Android and kept playing. To refute that point, Epic Games and Evans first argue that Apple and Google are in a duopoly — these are almost as anticompetitive as monopolies.

And while iOS and Android do compete, switching between the two isn’t a trivial task. As evidence, during his testimony Monday, Evans cited his research that found only a tiny percentage of those who’d played Fortnite on an iPhone switched to Android to keep playing. And that’s on a game that had 2.5 million daily users while it was still on the App Store.

Apple’s counterarguments

The response of Apple’s lawyers is predictable. They’re doing everything they can to poke holes in the argument that game consoles and Androids aren’t iPhone competitors. It’s up to Epic Games to convince the judge — Apple’s lawyers only need to create doubt.

Plus, Apple pointed out earlier in the trial that developers can create web apps that don’t have to go through the App Store.

Testimony resumes Tuesday as the Epic Games v. Apple trial continues.