According to a ruling by a federal court in Oakland, California, Apple must comply with the developers’ provisions for paying for the apps and services. Appeals against the judgment can be lodged.
In the Apple case against the game developer Epic, judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple could not forbid developers to include buttons or links in their apps that refer customers to other payment options outside of Apple’s own in-app purchase system. The ruling also states that Apple cannot prohibit developers from communicating with customers using contact information that the developers received when they signed up within the app.
Rogers granted an injunction requested by Epic, but also sentenced the game maker to pay Apple $ 4 million in damages. The court also contradicted Epic’s view that Apple was an antitrust monopoly in the sub-market for mobile gaming transactions. However, Rogers found that Apple’s behavior in enforcing certain restrictions was anti-competitive.
The core of the dispute between developers like Epic are the commissions that Apple charges in its app store, namely 15 and 30 percent of sales. Epic also wanted to bring down the monopoly on installing apps. But that was not ordered. So far, Apple has only allowed programs to be installed on the iPhone and iPad via the App Store.
Apple interpreted the judgment as a success despite the injunction. “Today the court confirmed what we always knew: the App Store does not violate antitrust law.” The court also found that “success is not illegal”. “Apple faces fierce competition in every segment we do, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world.” They will continue to work to ensure that the App Store is a safe and trustworthy marketplace.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney commented on the Apple statement on Twitter: “Today’s verdict is neither a win for developers nor for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition between in-app payment methods and app stores for one billion consumers.” The epic game Fortnite will be in the iOS Return to the App Store if Epic could offer a payment method in in-app payments in fair competition with the Apple system, where the savings could be passed on to consumers.
After the verdict, Apple shares, which had recently performed well, fell by a little more than two percent. Investors were apparently unsure of the effects that the ruling, which has not yet become final, will have on Apple’s future balance sheets.
Epic sued Apple in August 2020 after the iPhone maker removed Fortnite from its app store. Previously, the game company had secretly built a code into its app to avoid paying the commissions to Apple. Epic has requested an injunction in California to stop Apple’s “illegal restraint of competition”.
Epic, which raised more than $ 5 billion in Fortnite last year, is also taking legal action against Apple in the EU, the UK and Australia. In addition, the game manufacturer sued the Internet company Google because of similar business models in the Google Play Store.
Apple shares under pressure
Three days after hitting a record high of just over $ 157, Apple shares have suffered a severe setback. The iPhone manufacturer’s paper slipped 3.31 percent in NASDAQ trading to 148.97 US dollars, at the top it even went to 148.70 dollars, the lowest level since the end of August. The stocks also fell below the 21-day line for the short-term trend.
The impressive stock market rally by Apple hardly diminishes the judgment. The price has increased by 13 percent since the end of 2020, and the share has even increased by almost 33 percent year-on-year.
A look at the medium and long-term development shows how sustainable the success of the Apple share, which has been listed on the stock exchange since 1980, is. In the past five years, shareholders who have held the shares since then have increased their investment six-fold – no more Dow stock has risen in the period.
Since the summer of 2001, the price has increased by almost 50,000 percent – whoever invested $ 1,000 in Apple at the time has around half a million dollars today. Anyone who entered the IPO with $ 1,000 and has not sold since then has Apple shares for more than a million dollars in their depot
It currently has a market capitalization of around two and a half trillion dollars. The first trillion mark was taken by Apple in August 2018, the next two years later in September. On the current stage up to the third billion, half of the way has already been covered.
At this walking pace, the next trillion mark could fall by late summer 2022 at the latest. Analysts consider this historic step realistic; Dan Ives from Wedbush Research spoke of it a few months ago. The iPhone 13 and the first own car, the so-called Apple Car, are cited as important sources for even more price fantasy.
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