The US competition regulator invites itself into the conflict between Apple and Epic

The US Department of Justice wants a say in Apple’s antitrust dispute with Epic Games, which is to be heard on appeal next month, a year after a California court ruled overwhelmingly in favor of the device maker. ‘iPhone. On Friday, the appeals court granted US authorities the right to send a representative to the hearing scheduled for October 21, where the two parties must again present their arguments.

In September 2021, Judge Yvonne Rogers of Oakland, California generally agreed with the technology giant against the plaintiff, the Epic Games studio, which accused Apple of monopoly and violations of various competition laws. According to the developer of the game phenomenon Fortnite, Apple is abusing its dominant position by charging too high commissions, and by imposing the App Store as a compulsory passage for consumers to download apps and pay for digital goods and services.

But, according to the judge,Apple does not have a monopoly on the market for transactions in mobile games“. “The court made several legal errors that could jeopardize the application of competition law, particularly in the digital economy“, indicates the ministry in an expert note filed in January. According to the government, the judge misinterpreted the law concerned, and, as a result, many agreements and practices could find themselves unprotected “by this text, if the judgment remained unchanged and set precedent.

The department has been investigating for years potential anti-competitive practices by Apple and other big tech companies that have amassed considerable power in their industries. Like Epic Games, Spotify and other publishers, many American elected officials accuse the Apple brand of being judge and party in the lucrative market for mobile applications on the iPhone. Apple ensures for its part that allowing the download of applications outside the App Store would pose risks in terms of security. Kate Adams, the group’s lawyer, welcomed this “huge victory for Apple” a year ago.which validated in his opinion »the business model of the App Store«. “The court found that Apple was not a monopoly + neither under federal law nor under state law +”, she insisted.

The Department of Justice has clarified that it does not take a position on the merits of each party’s arguments. The agreement given by the court on Friday specifies that Apple will be entitled to ten minutes of additional speaking time during the appeal hearing.

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